A couple weeks ago I re-published a piece I had written back in 2018, called 12 Rules of Life For Financial Freedom. It’s one of my favourite pieces here on Freedom 101, in large part because it really breaks Financial Freedom down to it’s basic roots.
Money isn’t rocket science. In the personal finance space there are many who like to make it sound fancy and complex. But at it’s grass roots, financial freedom, and certainly financial security can be achieved through truly simple concepts.
I’m not saying it’s easy.
But it is absolutely an area of life where the K.I.S.S principle can be applied.
I’m also pretty pumped to say that this post got me a feature spot on Personal Finance Blogs, a curation site for the best personal finance content out on the web.
But this week I want to zero in on one of my favourite rules from that list.
Don’t Be Stupid
That sounds like a really easy rule. But let’s dive in to that one a bit.
It’s really friggin’ easy to do stupid things all the time. Even when you have a rule not to.
And those stupid things? Well, they can be life changing. They can jeopardize, or majorly detract from our ability to enjoy everything we are working towards Financial Freedom for.
And of course, it’s always really apparent AFTER we’ve done something uber stupid.
You know…. that whole hindsight being 20/20 thing.
But sometimes the stupid can things, can result from the tiniest of decisions. The ones we don’t even think twice about.
Here’s What I’m Talking About
Despite this whole “Don’t Be Stupid” being a rule of ours, I’m broken it on more than a few occasions. <uch too Mike’s dismay.
It’s actually the doing of incredibly stupid things that landed this rule in the number three spot on my list.
For instance. A few years back I was doing a renovation with my Dad. Before I get into the stupid part, let me say, it was a super cool experience that I’m incredibly thankful to have done with him. AND, if we hadn’t reached Financial Freedom, it’s not something I would have been able to do.
So a whole lot of gratitude on my end to have been able to make those memories, and learn a ton, from my Dad.
But back to my being stupid. We were in demolition phase of the reno. I was smashing apart some ultra old cabinets when I stumbled across the most solidly built lazy Susan in the entire world.
I was a little too focussed on fitting the utmost possible debris into our trailer for disposal. You know that whole maximizing/efficiency trait of mine that can get me into trouble from time to time.
Also, poor Susan. Who decided to name a very convenient kitchen feature that?!
In my determined state to break poor Susan down, I took a 4′ long pry bar and took a couple good swings at it.
It’s didn’t budge an inch. I’m telling you, this thing was built like a tank. Props to whoever put it together back in 1940.
But I wasn’t about to let lazy old Susan kick my butt. This thing had to break apart. Right?
Here Comes The Stupid
So I widened my stance. Solidly gripped that pry bar in my hands, lined up the base of the swan neck with the lazy Susan, swung that bad boy back over my head, and slammed it down.
I fully expected the Lazy Susan to collapse into the dust in more than a few pieces.
This lazy Susan had a personality. And it wasn’t a nice one.
It responded with a hard core “F#@$ you”. Promptly bouncing the pointy end of the swan neck directly back up. Straight into my left eye.
Now I know what you’re thinking. That’s okay. Phia’s doing demo, she’s bound to be wearing safety glasses.
And you’re right. I was wearing safety glasses.
I was wearing them on top of my head. Where they are precisely 0% effective.
The pain was searing.
In the matter of .01 seconds I had dropped the pry bar and both hands were covering my eye. I was acutely aware that my husband and toddler had just pulled up to the site to say hello to us, and my first thought was I couldn’t let my toddler see the damage I musty surely have done.
With both eyes tightly shut, I reached for the patio railing I knew was behind me. I could hear my Dad’s voice approaching from a few feet away.
In mere seconds, a million thoughts went through my mind about how this would change my life. At that moment in time, it seemed impossible that I wouldn’t have permanent, and impactful damage to my eye.
I tried to steady my breath, and as my Dad put his hand on my shoulder, I took a deep breath inward, pulled my hands away, and said “How bad is it?”.
I felt sick to my stomach.
Oh How Lucky I Am
My Dad paused for a moment.
It felt like an hour.
As a former paramedic, I trusted that he would know exactly what to do. And I felt instant shock when he responded with “I think it’s going to be okay”. Relief, mixed with some disbelief, and a whole lot of nausea washed over me.
After a good assessment, he told me the crow bar had hit the corner of my eye socket. Which had prevented it from actually contacting my eye. I wasn’t going to win any beauty pageants for the next few weeks, but realistically, I was completely fine.
I can’t even tell you the emotions that ran through me. It felt like I had just won the lottery.
Mere centimetres were the difference between what would likely have been a life changing injury, versus a minor inconvenience.
After that I had to sit down. I know I was white as a ghost, could feel my body shaking, and the blood rush to my core. I couldn’t stop questioning why on earth I would be so stupid.
- Why would I do that?
- Why did I not just throw it into the bin when the first few hits didn’t do anything?
- What on earth were my safety glasses doing on top of my head?
Those Little Things In Life
It was stupid. The whole thing was stupid. It should never have happened. I should have made better choices.
The silver lining, in this and many other experiences in my life when I’ve been royally stupid, is that they’ve given me a whole lot of first hand perspective. A wealth of intense memories to call upon to motivate me not to do those types of things in the future. To be more mindful and intentional about my choices. To pause and take stock of what I’m doing.
I’m insanely grateful that for that all my moments of stupidity in life, I’ve been lucky to walk away relatively unscathed.
Did I mention that I crushed a finger between two large rocks earlier this week? Yah……..I’m still actively working on this rule.
Try shaving your armpits with only one able hand. It’s tricky stuff.
But taking unnecessary risks, both financial and otherwise, should be something we all focus our energy on mitigating as much as possible. On an ongoing basis.
Because life can change in the blink of an eye. Or the swing of a pry bar. And wealth without health means very little.