Chapter 8: Build Your Community Part 2
The changes I made in my life would have been much harder without the support of my wife. First, I made changes in my identity to start putting people first. And there were implications – it was possible that I could get promoted more slowly because I wouldn’t jump up and volunteer for the extra project that would require that I work over the weekend. And then one day, on a drive home from Yosemite National Park, I announced that I just wanted to resign and stay home with the kids.
We planned my exit from the corporate world for two months, looking at the finances primarily, to see if we could pull things off with only her salary to live on. What was key, however, was not the raw numbers per se, but our shared values. We decided that reducing the stress in our lives was the top priority. And we were fortunate that we’d gotten a big stock windfall earlier in the year. Rather than make a big purchase, we used the money to buy freedom. If our values required a new beamer every two years and expensive shoes every month, I would still be working to maximize our income.
It was amazing how much less money we spent after I became a stay at home dad. Off the top, we saved money on childcare, gardening, lunches, eating out, and dry cleaning. But we saved even more money on big ticket items that we didn’t really need. We’d be in Costco, and buy something expensive on a lark. Looking back on it, I think these purchases were a palliative for stress.
And while not everyone has a family, as we shall see in as the chapter progresses, everyone has the ability to grow a community of people who share their values.