Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Why Aren't I Afraid?

This latest cash-flow issue certainly came as a shock to us and last night both of us were feeling a little stunned, but this morning I noticed something - both of us seemed pretty chipper. Cheerful, even. What on earth?

I think it's because we're so clear on where we stand right now. We know exactly how much we need to earn, where the money comes from and how much of a financial cushion we have should our supply of cash cut off. We took a hit this time, but we're still okay.

In addition, we're both healthy, we're smart and we're capable of hard work. Our worst case scenario is one of us has to find a menial job. We'd still be able to get by.

This isn't the first time we've been knocked for a loop. About a decade ago, before we were married, my husband was working for a large Silicon Valley game company when management decided to pull the plug on the game his group had been assigned to. "We'll assign you to another group; what game are you interested in?" he was asked. My husband came home from work that day looking like he'd just been run over by a bus.

"Well, what do you want to do?" I asked him.

"What can I do? I'll wait to get assigned to a new game."

He didn't seem to happy about it. "Is that what you really want to do?" I asked.

"No," he said.

"What do you really want to do?"

I could see the struggle going on in his mind. "Quit and go back to Terrace and spend some time with my Dad," he blurted out.

"Why don't you, then?" I said. Why not? After all, his father was fighting cancer. Wasn't his son's place at his side?

"What will you do?" he asked.

"I'll come with you," I said.

If my husband's game hadn't been sidelined at that moment we wouldn't have spent four months in Canada that year with his parents. He wouldn't have been there the day his father got the good news - his cancer was in remission. He wouldn't have been there the day his mother got a phone call - my husband's brother had been admitted to a hospital in Alaska with a brain tumor. He wouldn't have been there in Alaska with the rest of his family when his brother passed away. And honestly, I don't know if we'd be living in Terrace today.

That day - that conversation - changed a lot of things in our lives. It was the first time we said as a couple, "to hell with the way everyone else does things: this is what makes sense for us." It was the first that we chose a more human lifestyle over a corporate one.

Remember this - when life pitches you a curveball, don't be afraid; just adjust your stance and knock it out of the park.

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