May 6, 2014

Cutting The Bad and Moving On

{Photos by Alyssa; wearing Vince Camuto clutch, Tibi tank, Sheinside denim blouse}

Last week I met up with a friend for some drinks. He moved away from Ottawa a few years ago and happened to be in town for some catching up.

“Do you think you’ve changed in the last few years?” He asked.
“I don’t know. What do you think as an observer?” I said.
“Maybe. I think when I first met you 5 years ago you were more precise in what you want and now you just go with the flow.”

It’s hard to imagine that 5 years ago I was all about designer goods and the bling. A big sum of every paycheck went towards a designer purchase, clothes, shoes, make up, home decors, and whatever I felt like buying. I saved some money but every weekend I was shopping. I didn’t feel that I was sad or empty on the inside, or whatever cliquée people describe a “shopaholic” to be. I just liked to shop. My friends at that time and my ex also loved to shop and indulge in expensive things. It was my way of life.

A couple of years ago after my 4 year relationship ended I dated another guy, Alex. On paper he was great but on the inside he was extremely selfish and aloof in his own world. He liked the idea of me but not me. Him and all of his friends were shallow. They were people who judge others base on their lifestyle instead of how good and genuine a person is. Alex was a catalyst to my indulging habits- eat at trendy places for the sake that it's trendy, purchasing designer items, and being in a vortex with his friends comparing who has what and who is more glamorous.

Eventually the relationship ended painfully. I remember one pay day two Novembers ago, I sat at work, starred at my hefty paycheck and thought: “All this money means nothing to me. I am miserable.".

Last Spring I took a trip to Mexico with Danielle and I was reminded of the simple life. I was appreciative of how some people have no internet, doesn’t know what a Louis Vuitton is, live in a dingy house with no car and yet they were care free and happy. I had an amazing time eating local food, enjoying beautiful scenery and being completely remote from all of society's expectations: have lots of money to indulge, spend, and flaunt.

It was then that I decided to change my life.

Since then the idea of spending money on designer goods, shoes and clothing, splurging on trendy places to eat for the sake that ‘everyone has been there’, going to events because ‘everyone will be there’ has lost its luster. I still shop and sometimes spend more than I like, and once in a while I still attend local events and eat at fancy places for the sake of its atmosphere. But I don't feel the compulsion to buy designer goods to keep up with society, eat at pricey places I personally find its food mediocre, or care what people at events who I don't see on regular basis think of me. I started putting more money towards RSP, savings, mortgage, and annual non-resort vacations.

Since my trip to Mexico I’ve been working my butt off to save and invest my money. I’m happy to say that I’ve shaved off 5 additional years of my mortgage on my first house over the last 5 years. On top of it, I recently purchased a second house as an investment property, along with my side hobby investment stream, without my parents’ financial aid- and with leftover money for a couple vacays. According to my calculations if I keep on doing this I can retire at 45 and move to the south to enjoy my simple tropical life, which is my dream... Unless I have kids, then make that 55 :(

To me, this thought of freedom means more than purchasing another Chanel bag, or receiving compliments on my 'it' purchase.

I’ve changed a lot in the last 5 years. I've cut out materialistic desires, and no longer feel like I have to keep up with whatever lifestyle people envy. And I've cut out those who act as my catalyst to those things. I have to say that I have never felt as control and liberated as I am now.