“How willing are you to put up with inconvenience?
“Because we’re reasonably willing, as a family, to put up with inconvenience, we live in a home that we built — paying for it as we go — and never worrying about a mortgage.
“Of course, there’s the five years that we lived without a proper kitchen — Carolyn could tell you a lot about that — but she always said that the tradeoff, financial freedom, was worth living in a loosely renovated barn or washing dishes in the laundry sink for a few years. People still come up to her and say that they could never do what she did; she always smiles and says that no person in America, man or woman, feels as grateful as she does for a kitchen sink.
“In the same way, we inconvenienced ourself with a significantly smaller paycheck so that I could take a full day, Friday, each week to work on my painting and fine art business. By the time circumstances launched us into doing this full time, we were well versed in the inconveniences, and freedom, involved in saving money (which Carolyn wrote about in her book, Live Happily on Less).
“People come up to us and tell us how lucky we are, and we generally smile and say nothing. It’s not so much that we’re lucky as that we work very hard to make our resources stretch so that we can continue to do what we want to do. This frequently involves inconvenience.
“The latest thing that people comment on are the number of trees and the amount of greenery surrounding our — mortgage free — house.
“‘This place is like a garden of Eden!‘ they exclaim. ‘You are so lucky to have all this greenery surrounding you.’
“Again we smile. When we moved here, 15 years ago, it was pretty much an empty field. We remember one week we spent planting 300 tiny trees in the midst of tall, tall grass. After days of punishing labor, you couldn’t see anything. That this was inconvenient is a definite understatement.
“But today, it is a Garden of Eden, Pacific Northwest style. Hard work, determination, and cheerfully being willing to put up with inconvenience, have resulted in our conducting our fine art business out of our mortgage-free home set in the midst of a lot of trees and bushes.
“This is not inconvenient at all.”
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Do you want to be more content with what you have? Live Happily on Less by Carolyn Henderson walks you through the individual, and customizable, changes that you can make in your finances and your life to achieve contentment. You don’t have to be a billionaire to be happy (and how many billionaires, incidentally, would describe themselves as happy?)