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syz's avatar

Anyone else walked away and started over?

Asked by syz (35649points) February 20th, 2008

My boss is (somewhat annoyingly) fascinated with my personal history. I used to function in the same circles that he and his wife are currently in – house in the snazzy part of town, Mercedes, trips to Europe. I walked away from an unhappy marriage and started over with nothing. I’m now poor but happy (at 43) and would do it again in a heartbeat. He thinks I’m an anomaly – I say I’m not. Anyone else feel the same way?

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7 Answers

ishotthesheriff's avatar

i’m the age your son would be, but i have to say. . . you’re happy! anomaly. . . ha. why should there be such thing. . ? no one’s the same and no one should be the same as others. be thankful you’re not a sheep in the flock . . .
i wouldn’t say i’m in the same boat as you, but i could say i’ll be starting over (somewhat) when i move in about 5 months.
i wish you luck with this new life.

cwilbur's avatar

You might not be an anomaly, but you’re certainly in the small minority.

First, you had a status-seeking, conspicuous consumption life. People in that set don’t generally break out of it voluntarily once they’re there: it takes a lot of effort to get to that point, and generally if that’s not the lifestyle one wants, one figures it out long before one gets there and stops trying.

Second, you went from that lifestyle to being poor but happy. The sort of person who usually goes after the status-seeking conspicuous consumption lifestyle isn’t likely to use “poor” and “happy” in the same sentence without associating “not” with one of them.

occ's avatar

I can’t say I’ve thrown it all away and started over, but I’ve turned down jobs that would pay twice – or even three times – the salary that I happily make in my non-profit job. I think it’s anomalous in our society, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing—I think you should be proud of the fact that you started over (and that you’re happier!). I know tons of people who make a lot of money and are incredibly unhappy. Obviously, something about our status-obsessed, debt-embracing, conspicuous-consumption society is not working, since a huge percentage of Americans are taking anti-depressants.

I recently read a new book by Eric Weiner called The Geography of Bliss…he travels around the world studying the countries that are statistically more happy than the US. we rank 23rd on that list…the “happiest” countries are Iceland, Switzerland, Bhutan. What makes the Icelandic people so happy? he postulates that it’s the way they embrace failure. As a society, people are encouraged to take risks, and failure is considered noble because any significant failure means you had to take a risk to get there. Pretty different from the U.S.

omfgTALIjustIMDu's avatar

@occ, Wow, makes me really want to move to Iceland right now….

susanc's avatar

Seems like since the Reagan years we have embraced a philosophy of huge shame if
we can’t or won’t or don’t earn a lot and spend a lot. I don’t get it. It seems very cruel to ourselves, our own selves.

Jaybee's avatar

Your boss, as well as everyone caught up in this disfunctional society that furiously trys to dictate our reality 24 hrs a day, is wondering how you arrived at this elusive state of happiness. In a sense part of him wants what you have but at the same time the other part him (the one under the spell) is totally convinced that you’re not well.

augustlan's avatar

I walked away from a wonderful lifestyle…big house, nice cars, all financial needs met when my unhappy marriage of 17 years ended. I am remarried to a man who makes less than half what my ex made and now struggle to make ends meet while living in a tiny house that’s in danger of falling apart at any moment. I couldn’t be happier!

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