Just over a year ago, I decided to write a book about how we went from having ordinary jobs to being property developers and turning over a hefty amount of money annually. I wanted to explain to people, maybe “tell” people is a better expression, what we did to make the necessary changes in the way we think that allowed us to make that transition.
Before we started doing all this wealth creation stuff, we thought it was all just about making money, having a business, lots of employees, sell stuff and somehow the money will come. It isn’t about that at all. It was very hard to believe for a long time, but it’s actually about the thoughts we have about money that make the difference. That sounded really bizarre and we felt like we were being totally led astray and up some fairy garden path for a while, but enough books & people said the same thing that we began to pay attention and eventually give the whole “money mindset” thing a try.
The book was intended as a guide on how to go from normal, average jobs to wealthy, and to have people see that if we can do it, anyone can because we’re just run-of-the-mill, bog standard, ordinary people.
The book got as far as final draft prior to launch & publishing. I never gave the go ahead to launch it. It just didn’t feel right. I felt like I was preaching and the whole thing just felt… off, as though the book wasn’t meant to be printed. The people that read it said it was great, an easy read and insightful. My dad said I was very hard on myself, my brother said it put things into a whole different perspective. Friends said they had no idea what we’d created and gone through. About four or five months ago, I decided to rewrite the whole thing, take out all the lessons and anything to do with wealth creation, and recreate the whole thing as a novel-style version of what’s happened in the past 18 or so years because it’s really interesting. The point of the book was still about wealth creation, going from jobs to fairly wealthy, but there was more information, more background stuff in there, more stories.
Then the other morning, just before I woke, I dreamt that my book was being made into a film with Russell Crowe playing the part of John! I actually thought that was an inspired choice, personally. I couldn’t decide who I wanted to play the role of me, though. The problem was that I only had six months to live, so it was imperative that the movie contained all the things from my life that I felt were important, the things that moved me or made a difference, the things that changed me, memorable things, things that made me laugh or cry or feel proud or happy, and I realised that while I’m very glad we went along the path to wealth, it’s really not the most significant or important thing in my life. All of that stuff, while it’s shaped who I am, it isn’t the core of me. I realised that I needed to rewrite the whole thing.
I also realised that I didn’t need to justify writing about myself and my life. I realised that the wealth creation thing gave me what I saw to be a legitimate reason for people to read about me, a “look at me, I’ve done something special” validation, a Unique Selling Point, something to get people interested enough to want to read about me. This is why I didn’t feel comfortable with the book as a teaching tool: I was justifying myself. Er… that’s a bit obscure, you’ll have to trust me on that.
The thing is, my life is interesting. I don’t do boring, tedious, run-of-the-mill, steady, predictable anything. I also notice things. I remember things and I find the humour in them. Take yesterday, for example. There I am, driving along, taking the car to the garage to be repaired after a young woman ran into me on a very curvy (would ‘curvaceous’ be appropriate here?) mountain road. The woman didn’t see the 90 degree bend coming up and if I hadn’t been in her way, she would have gone over the edge and very probably come to a flat and grisly end. Just call me the Angel in the Beamer, thank you.
Anyhow, as I’m turning yet another corner yesterday, a woman standing at the traffic lights just keeled over and passed out. I pulled over and ran to help her, as did a young couple in a car going the other way. The guy and I helped the woman up, while his partner went back to the car. After a few minutes talking to her, we called an ambulance. It turned out that she was on all sorts of medication (some legal, others not) and had decided to have a drink. Or two. Possibly three. Maybe four. She was a mess, incoherent and drifting in and out of delirium, shaking and not really able to get her bearings at first. As she began to recover (apart from everything else, she’d cracked her head hard on the pavement when she went down), suddenly she focused with pinpoint clarity on the young woman waiting in the car. The couple had come up to the coast for an afternoon out and she was dressed in a nice outfit. The injured woman looked at her, her face changing into a mask of fury as she desperately tried to stand up (and failed), yelling furiously, “Who does she think she is, pushing her tits into my face? She’d better put them away or I’ll go over there and smash her face in!” Excellent. Right. Better get my diplomatic skills into action then. I suspect that the couple were just as relieved as I was when the ambos arrived and we could hand her over to them, safe in the knowledge that she would be taken care of.
As I was walking past the couple’s car, the young woman said goodbye to me, and I couldn’t resist giggling and saying, “You’d better put those tits away or you never know what will happen!”
“I wouldn’t mind,” she laughed, “but I don’t really have any! I couldn’t believe she was talking to me!”
This kind of stuff happens all the time. I remember it. I love it. If I had six months to live (and hopefully, I have a lot longer than that to go!), I wouldn’t want people at my funeral to be talking about how we’d changed the way we thought and gone on to make money. I don’t think that’s what they’d talk about anyway. At someone’s funeral, you remember the humanity, the incidents, the laughter, the shared times. Everyone has them but it’s as though we (I!) discount them completely. I didn’t feel like I could justify writing about the ordinary things, the daily things, little things, I had to have a Purpose to my writing, there had to be a point to it. What if there isn’t a point? What if my writing is simply about getting my memories down? Shit happens to me all the time, it’s the same for everyone, that’s life. It’s also worth recording just because. I would dearly love to know what the lives of my grandparents and great grandparents was like, what their daily experiences were, what were the highlights and lowlights of their lives, what their friends and family said about them, who they were as people. That’s the stuff that will be remembered at our funerals, which is a pretty depressing way of saying that all the ordinary things matter. I don’t have to justify myself of my writing, none of us do, and I can guarantee that others – our family and friends – will definitely find it interesting.
Note to self: just write as though you’re having a conversation with friends. You don’t go into a conversation with an outcome in mind, you go into it with the sole purpose of connecting and sharing.
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Hi! I’m Karen O’Connor, hormonally-challenged, menopausal writer, blogger, self-confessed sarcasm enthusiast, mother of 4, wife of 30 years, destroyer of souls... no, wait, that's just in the mornings...
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