Reality Check: The Next Step
So, I did a self-assessment checklist to see how healthy and balanced my life is. According to the website from which I got the checklist, a 90 out of 100 meant I had a very healthy and balanced life. I got a 65. Not bad, but not where I’d like to be. The checklist assessed four areas of my life; my physical environment, my emotional and health balance, my finances, and relationships. I scored relatively well on emotional/health and relationships, getting a 19/25 in the former and 20/25 in the latter. However, my physical environment and financial situation could be a lot better. At first, I felt really bad about the outcome of this self-assessment, but after sitting with it for a little while, I felt much better and even optimistic because this means I have a solid idea of where I need to go and how to get there.
Before I started this little endeavor, I had one goal in mind, and that was to learn how to love myself. I’m only a fraction of the way through the 365-Days-of-Self-Love and I know I have a long way to go before I can say that I truly accept and love all parts of myself; however, the work I have done so far have allowed me to give myself the permission to explore a different way of life and most recently, a different way to make a living. For some time now, I have believed that the way for me to make a life worth living is to become self-employed or learn about how to invest or make my money work for me as Robert Kiyosaki says in his book “Rich Dad Poor Dad.” It is important to me to dedicate my time and energy realizing my own dream rather than someone else’s, yet I did not believe I was good enough or deserving enough to strike out on my own.
Since I started this process, these excuses are no longer true for me. I have become less critical of myself and a lot more forgiving. I am learning to suspend judgement where my needs are concerned and doing what I can to meet my needs. I am learning to believe in my ability to meet my own needs, and I am learning to give myself permission to pursue my desires no matter how I perceive others might judge those decisions. The result of this change in perspective is the realization that I no longer wish to live in Japan indefinitely, so I can no longer teach English to speakers of other languages and make a living. This means that I have spent ten years building a career that in the not too distant future will no longer be viable. I do not anticipate that I will be able to teach in North America and still be able to live the kind of life that I would like to live. So I have decided to find another way to generate an income.
Making a lot of money is not my motivation, but I know that I need a steady source of income that will allow me to set aside enough money for savings and for my children should something happen to my husband or myself. Right now, I have no assets and if I were to die, my husband and my children would have nothing. It’s really unacceptable to not have a plan in place to protect my children from unnecessary hardship, and without turning them into a burden to whomever takes them in. Therefore making enough money so that I am financially independent is an undeniable necessity. However, I refuse to take a job for the sole purpose of making money, so I am currently in the process of choosing an occupation that meets all of my needs.
The results of the self-assessment checklist put my situation into perspective. I have some work to do before I can hope to build a life in which I am completely satisfied. I now have a clear idea of what I need to do to get there, but more than anything, I am doing my best to remember that although I am improving my life, I am not doing it to be happy. I believe that happiness is a state of mind. Although I have not accomplished all of my goals, I can still be happy now. I do not have to wait for the perfect career, the best house, and a secure financial future to be happy. As I said before, I am excited about the journey and the opportunity for growth that this endeavor offers. Knowing where I want to go and how to get there is exciting because there is so much I need to learn about myself, compatible careers, and financial security. Until I started this process, these experiences were just too terrifying, but now I am eager to learn, despite the fear that is still there, and for the first time, the desire for personal growth is greater than the fear of failure.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to see my life in numbers. It put things in perspective and has allowed me to see where I have been. The qualities of a healthy life that I have yet to attain offer a clear idea of how I can get to where I want to go. At the same time, I am mindful of the fact that although it is helpful to have goals, happiness cannot be one of them. Happiness needs to be a choice, otherwise, I will spend most of my life chasing happiness. I am certain that as I move forward towards my goals, I will be happy, and if it turns out that my goals were unrealistic or not attainable, I will still be okay. I will have learned a lot, and that is what counts.