Sheryll’s Story

So where do I start; I had a fabulous job – everyone thought I had it made? I had joined the international company in NZ, worked there for a while then had a transfer to Sydney, Singapore and home again. So I worked in and around Asia, however also spent time in Europe as my HO for this role was based in Geneva, my warehousing for the products in the UK and Germany – a truly global company to work for…..

I traveled business class to most destinations, and stayed in 5 star hotels – however I was on the road probably 3 weeks out of 4… only coming home to unpack one bag and repack to head in the opposite direction – I felt I did more hours in the air then any cabin crew member…

I earned 6 figures, was a expat in Asia, did I say traveled business class – well as I travelled so much I was often – and I mean often –  in First Class… “wow” an elite member with my airline, an elite member with my preferred hotel chain – a VIP everywhere!!! No queues for me…

Then  one day as I was in a hotel limo travelling from the airport to the 5 star hotel … I looked out the window across the highway to people living in bits of tin and cardboard… What am I doing here working, to sell a product that most of these people could never afford i.e. they brought shampoo via a 5c foil pack? Or was it when I was on a conference phone call at midnight on a Friday night – When I thought there must be more to life then this… but what! Most of my friends thought I had the most fabulous life………. But where was my time and my freedom?

I was divorced and had brought up 2 children who were now educated and both living in London with big corporate jobs…. I started to wonder how much money I really needed to take a year “out”….. One spreadsheet later – I could manage with some savings….i.e. you actually spend to what you earn… it is not what you actually need to live on. However as things worked out, the company I worked for was going through changes physical, cultural and values , so I had a opportunity to take a package and leave …. I was gone – At last I could think about my time and freedom.

My thoughts were to take a year out to write my own business plan, to work out what I really wanted to do and where I wanted to live… What did I really want? I brought books, had a coaching session – asked questions, and searched within myself. However my plan was not written as my Mum was diagnosed with cancer and was given 14mths to live…. How lucky was I, I had the time and the money (from the redundancy) to be with Mum at her appointments etc etc…. so again I was looking around at people from all walks of life…. Oncology day wards became my home with my Mum…. Also by having this time I was able to move my parents into a retirement village or was that a resort – something my Mum had wanted for a long time…. But my Dad thought it was somewhere you went to die!!!! Hey listen to him now… I call him “make an appointment Dad”; he is so busy and now has a 2ndlife… His new life allowed me to move to my next stage in life…..

Just before my Mum died… a friend rang me and offered me a “mean time job” – what is that I asked– mean time till you work out what you want to do!!!! – Great 2 weeks of data entry… hey I have never pushed numbers into a system before – it is ok we just need someone that can think and do!!!! This work turned into part time project work etc etc… my choice. I knew I never wanted to work full time again… it was now about me… I now had some sort of freedom and time for me.

By the time I started this “Mean time Job” one of my children had moved back to NZ as they were due to have child #1 …. So 3 grandchildren were born in just under 3 years (single births)… so I was now a grandmother and driving down country from Auckland to spend time with them… again it was – What am I doing… why am I still living in Auckland when these little people live South…

My plan started to hatch… my Dad, didn’t really need me – he has always been a new age man i.e. could work the washing machine, cook and clean… beside he was in a retirement village, had a new girlfriend and was so busy – so I announced to all my friends I was selling up and moving south to a new life closer to my grandchildren … what do you mean! You are too young to move out of Auckland, what will you do for a job!!! Once I started to plan my new freedom, all started to fall into place… I had an offer on my apartment… yippee it sold and I had to move out Jan 2010… Ok so I was still working 3 days a week on a project … so I packed up all my goods and they were stored and I rented a studio apartment 5mins from work amongst all the action in Auckland…. Friends could not believe that I preparing to leave all behind and move south…

So this is what I did… I rented for a year and finished the project for the company I was working for – by the way, have I added my earning by now was half or less of what I was earning before and no perks!! i.e. I was a nobody now…. No status with airlines, no drivers to meet me…

So where am I today…. I have move 2.5 hours south of Auckland, I am working 4 days a week at a salary I think I use to get when I was 16….but where am I really….. Living in a fabulous beach town where I drive 16Kms to work (4 days a week, working on making it 3 days) along one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, I have to pinch myself…  … I don’t have a corporate job, I don’t have my elite status with airlines or hotels – hey I also don’t work 7 days, all hours of the day/week…. I live close to my grandchildren – who I watch play soccer each Saturday, while my granddaughter hangs on tightly to the water bottles and goodies… I don’t hear traffic, I just hear crashing waves, I park outside the shop I need to make a purchase at. Every day I think about how lucky I am to live here, breathe clean air, have some of the best food that you can buy at the local markets….watch the sun rise and set….have my time. But best of all I have the freedom to watch the little people in my life grow – hopefully I can teach them what is really important in life…… and my friends – they are all queuing to stay……

 

 

– Sheryll 2011

 

 

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