We Have A Magic Fridge

 It became apparent over the last three years or so, that I have in my possession a magic fridge.

Not the contents of the fridge, they are not magic, especially the sludge that sits at the bottom of the crisper bin until it’s cleaned. 

The fridge itself doesn’t perform magic.  It isn’t the latest model or even stainless steel.  No, it’s a basic white fridge/freezer combo with a few dents in the front to add to it’s charm.

The fridge door has been replaced due to young kids swinging on it and opening it every 15 minutes in the middle of summer when they were bored, so it’s not even original.

None of this is what makes our fridge magic.

It’s what we write on it.

Years ago we started putting pictures of what we wanted on the fridge.  Pictures of houses, places and things.  Some we eventually bought, seen and went to, but not all of them.  I ended up taking the pictures down and replacing them with something else, when they started to remind not what I wanted, but what I had not yet attained.

Our fridge was like our dream board.

The real magic started to happen for us, when we wrote our dreams on the fridge.

It occurred to us that the outside of the fridge was like a whiteboard, so that meant it was one, and we should treat it accordingly.

We wrote on the fridge the things we wanted to have and where we wanted to be.

Stuff like:

This house is sold, (and it was).

Our new house with xyz is already waiting for us (and it was).

More recently, we wrote that we were going to Thailand (happened in July 2018).

A few years ago we wrote on it that we would go to Italy, but before being written on the fridge we had been discussing it for years.  The plan was to go there for our 20th wedding anniversary (we leave on 20th January).

There are other goals written on it at that moment. 

Our Roadmap to the Farm – pretty self-explanatory. The other thing written on it is specific actions my husband wishes to take with his business. 

I’ve wiped off all the stuff we’ve done, so it’s sitting there right now begging me to write more stuff on it.

This might seem like we use it as a planning tool, or reminders after we knew these things would all happen.

But that bit is the key.

We write all these things on there before we know how they are going to happen.  Before we know how we will afford it, and certainly before we know all the details.

Its by committing to these things, writing them on the fridge and then moving towards them as if they have already happened, that’s what stirs up the magic.

It has been 4 or 5 years since we started researching the area we want out farm, how big it needs to be, the maximum travel time from our current home, and how far it is from the coast.  What type of house it has, that it has a river or water running through it, that it has a beautiful outlook and is private.

All this forms part of the magic, getting clearer and clearer about how it will be, but not being attached to it. 

I like to say “this or something better”. 

Imagine being steadfast on any details, like it had to be 40 acres no more, when the perfect property comes up that’s 50 acres ?  I might miss it !

Recently we were discussing renovating our kitchen this year and I asked my husband, “What if we get rid of the magic fridge?”

His response reminded me how we have stayed married long enough to be celebrating our 20th Anniversary in Italy this month.

He said “It’s not the fridge that is magic, it’s us”.

 

Samantha Bright
When You've Never Felt Normal

What if the feeling of not belonging, that feeling that you are different.

Not the same as everyone else.

Is preparing you for later down the track.

When you stand up, speak out, or choose your own path.

And when the time comes to make that decision.

It’s easier for your than for most.

To leave the herd.

To have an unpopular opinion.

To take the road less travelled.

Because.

You’ve become comfortable with being separate.

As, you always were.

Fitting in, complying, conforming is pointless.

For it hides the gift you were born with.

The gift of your own guide and, to walk to the beat of your own drum.

Imagine a world where no-one was different.

Don’t question your uniqueness, embrace it.

Step all the way into it.

And then, turn the sound up for all the world to hear.

 

For as long as I can remember, I felt different.  That I missed the memo or didn’t understand how to operate like everyone else did.

I used to think it came from moving house a lot and changing schools. That, as a result, I never got the chance to settle in.  That I didn’t have relationships with people I’d know since pre-school or kindergarten, because we’d move a lot.

But the feeling has stayed with me into adulthood and in every aspect, I felt like I had to really try to be ‘normal’. 

It actually used to be my goal (back when I tried to give a shit about goals), to be normal and have a normal life, can you imagine!

To dress the way I was supposed to, to act the right way, to decorate my house the right way, to be able to do all the things a working mother, wife etc was supposed to do, the ‘the right way’.

Making up for an early bad relationship and poor decisions, which thankfully gave me my daughter, but at the young age of 20, which was so not the ‘right way’.

But recently I realised.

The reason why.

When people tell me I’m brave or courageous or inspiring, I reject it.  Can’t even fathom how me and those words go into a sentence together.

It’s because, I never felt ‘normal’.

That following the rules was torture for me and literally took a lot of conscious mental effort.

To do the things that other people won’t, is natural to me, comes easily, feels like MY right way.

That led me to think, that my feeling of separate had nothing to do with moving a lot or changing schools.

I was probably born that way.

With this realisation, I see that feeling abnormal is a gift.  That this makes it easier for me to do things that others find hard.

Not courageous, brave or inspiring.

Just me.

 

 

 

Samantha Bright
Choose your own life

I LOVED ‘choose your own adventure’ books as a kid.

I absolutely did, they were my 100% favourite book to read. 

The scary ones were the best, but sometimes the story got so scary I couldn’t deal with it and would skip straight to the end to see if it was the ‘right’ way and then change my choice if it wasn’t.

How much of that sounds like life? 

Sometimes it gets hard and you just want to skip to the bit when the good stuff happens OR if you are like me, wish you had your own crystal ball so you know which ending you should choose. But we can’t. Right ? 

You must live through the scary bits to get to the end, and if needed change your choice to make sure you have a different outcome by starting all over again at the beginning of the chapter Of course I'm reminded of another saying here:

"Lessons in life will be repeated until they are learned" - Frank Sonnenberg

Samantha Bright
You're too aggressive !

“You’re too aggressive”. That was the comment made during my yearly review, by my then, State Manager. 

I'd learnt to play the corporate game. I smiled and said,  “I understand, you’re right”.

It was easier to be compliant in these situations then it was to argue.

Her comment hurt. 

Later I googled the meaning of aggressive, trying to make sense of her feedback. I found something that used the word to describe a world class basketball player “aggressively driving the ball up the centre of the court to triumphantly score for his team”.

Now that described me!

Synonyms for aggressive include; assertive, forceful, competitive, insistent, vigorous, energetic, dynamic, driving, bold, audacious, enterprising.

This is the kind of stuff people put in their resumes. And it’s what has made me take the leap and start my own business, grow it from nothing, encourage and support others in my field, write published articles, run events, win awards, reinvent myself, look to launch an additional service and generally kick ass in my own way in the world of business.

But it’s also the stuff that means, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.

I’m still learning how to live with that. But I have to say, in hindsight my review feedback was right on the money. 😉

Can you be afraid of winning the lotto ?

My secret passion is true crime and over Easter I was listening to a podcast that told a story of a child kidnapping in the 50's. The unique part of the story was that the child's parents had won the lotto. Their winnings would be the equivalent of $2 million in today's money and Australia had not seen this type of crime before.

Listening to this story triggered a memory for me about my mum, teaching me how to play lotto when I was very young.

It was back in the day where the tickets had carbon under them and you filled in the top one which made a copy through the carbon onto another sheet. You would physically tick all the boxes you wanted and then write your name and address at the bottom. One went to the newsagent and you kept one.

I would watch my mum do this religiously each week, and she would always get super serious about the NFP box. This box I was told was very, very important and it meant "Not For Publication".

She told me (over and over again) that if you didn’t tick the box, then the newspaper would publish your name and people would come out of the woodwork to ask for money. 

At this point I would always loose track of her words as I was picturing worms coming out of rotten wood and was convinced she meant that worms would eat the money (?). But, that wasn’t the worst bit. NO !

If they published your name then bad people would come and take your kids away and ask you to pay to get them back.

For all her passion about winning the lotto, and having it as her main financial plan, she had the same amount of fear about winning the money and what bad things might happen to us if she did.

The funny thing is that my mum remarried, and my stepfather used to tell me that "lotto is a tax on stupid people" which only confused me more !!!

Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

My husband and I recently bought a new home (not new, actually built in 1911, but new to us). Before we started our search we worked out the things the new property had to have and what areas we liked. Then we set our budget for the new house. And here’s where I look at things a little different. I don’t want to have a mortgage in 10 years, our goal is to have our own home owned outright. So we worked backwards, based on how much we can pay off in 10 years. This gave us a figure we were comfortable to borrow and we added to that our deposit to give a purchase price/bracket we could manage. It was surprising that the figure we came to was a lot less than we thought we would spend (and way less than the bank would let us borrow).

We started looking at homes in the area in the price range we’d set and it was pretty evident that we were going to have to renovate again in order to meet our budget. As we were looking at houses we came across agents from our area that we both knew. I specifically remember looking at one property that was listed in our price range on realestate.com but as we were looking around I heard the agent tell another couple the actual price. It was $150,000 above our budget. ( I HATE THAT when they purposely advertise a property at a lower price to get you to go look at it!) 

As we were leaving the agent caught up with us and asked us about the property etc. We told him it was over our budget. He looked at us and said, “Really this is over your budget, you two have successful businesses surely you can afford this?”. 

That is exactly the difference. According to the bank, yes we could borrow more and ‘afford’ it. But I couldn’t afford to pay that amount out over 10 years and be mortgage free at 52. It so important to look at what you want when borrowing for a car, house or anything else and stick to it.

After all, that agent isn’t the one paying my mortgage each month – I am!

What I learnt about money the hard way.

I’ve been in the finance industry for 13 years this December and I’ve seen A LOT of different financial situations. Different incomes, different spending and different family dynamics. Once thing is certain - over time you start to see patterns and can pretty much identify someone’s money weakness or strength pretty quickly.

 The challenge is that some people aren’t ready to have a look at their situation because of fear. And I’m not just talking about low-income earners. Many admit “I have my head stuck in the sand and just don’t want to look”.

 On top of this direct experience is my personal one. I started out (many moons ago) as a single Mum at 20 (photo above ;)) without any financial support, so I’ve made many fantastic and some pretty crap decisions about money myself.

 But this month, I wanted to share with you what I’ve learnt about money. These are my top learnings:

  •  If you don’t actively manage your money and instead live on your bank account balance it will not work (oooh look there’s money I’ll spend it).
  • If you don’t respect your money (by having a plan) it will always flow through your fingers and you’ll never manage to get ahead (I’m just sooo bad with money I don’t get it !)
  • If you don’t have goals or intentions or an idea of what you’d like to achieve with money it will always feel like hard work and unrewarding. This in turn, makes you feel even worse about your situation and the cycle continues (stuff it, I deserve it – I’m buying it!). Sounds a lot like dieting, right?
  • It’s not what you earn it’s what you spend that will send you broke
  • If a bank won’t lend you money you probably shouldn’t borrow it (okay bank includes any type of regulated lender)
Money won't make you happy.

BUT the feeling of empowerment you get when you are in control of it, certainly will !