I may be being too sensitive, here, but I can not help but feel somewhat uncomfortable whenever someone tells me how lucky I am. It seems to happen quite often, lately. I am fortunate enough to have enough assets to live comfortably, without ever having to worry about money for the rest of my life, unless I do something really stupid. I do not have an expensive lifestyle. I live for six months of every year in a house with gorgeous views of sandstone escarpments in the beautiful Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. I live the other six months in a character filled, stone built 17th century maisonette in the Maltese capital city of Valletta, surrounded by the blue Mediterranean Sea.
I know, it sounds attractive.
It is a very pleasant lifestyle and wonderful position to be in, especially at my age. But, although I feel fortunate, it hasn’t exactly been all luck. Yes, I am lucky that I do not have a disability or serious illness. I am also lucky that I was not born into an impoverished country and I have never suffered a serious accident. Yes, I am lucky that I do not have below average intelligence. But those things can also be said of the vast majority of people I know. In fact, being the son of poor migrants to Australia, I had less of a positive start in life than many of those people who say how lucky I am. Rather than luck, I believe I find myself in the position I do as a result of an effective attitude and approach to life; I think that I have a good work ethic and a healthy concern towards personal finance. I have made the effort to make use of my abilities and any talents I might have. I also believe in delayed gratification and that I made a point of taking my opportunities when they have arisen, even if it meant getting out of my comfort zone (I often say that I have grabbed every opportunity offered to me, by the throat). I did not make many poor choices in life, spend money frivolously or give up on goals easily. I never married or had children, which of course helps one’s financial situation and lifestyle flexibility no end, but that is not because I could not have. With reflection and hindsight, I now know that my decisions in that area were correct ones and had I made different decisions, I would now be much worse off in many ways. I do not feel like I have denied myself anything along the way. I have travelled overseas many times (people seem amazed when I tell them that I backpacked around Europe for almost six months while paying off my first house) and if I wanted a new car or expensive guitar, or two or three, I have bought them. When I want to go to a restaurant for dinner, with friends or alone, I do. I have above average homes to live in with nice things in them- albeit perhaps, without as much furniture as other people might like to own.
These days, I spend money on art and music because these are the things that are important to me. I don’t spend money to impress other people nor am I a slave to fashion, nor do I spend money chasing women or spend it on drugs (ok, a little on alcohol and women). I travel, play and listen to live music, and write short stories.
I love the freedom I have now, but it’s not all luck. I prefer to say that I am very fortunate.