All of my life I’ve lived in a nice house.
I identified with having nice things and held my head upright, as though I were a princess.
“I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young. They’re still princesses.”
~ Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess
I’d sit high on my historic porch looking down at all of the other single mothers—living in apartments. I thought I was better than them.
That is, until I got bucked off of my high horse.
Was I truly better than them or had I just gotten lucky?
“Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.” ~ Seneca
Yes, I had made crafty decisions that led me to a place where I could live-large with my three kids in a house—a nice one at that.
Four walls—all our own—surrounded by a yard with a garden. 17 years of bliss.
I had simply wished hard to live like a princess and I did it. I’d daydreamed of living like royalty.
It was all good and well, but I didn’t feel fulfilled. It was lovely, but I wanted a life with more meaning.
I took a long, hard look inside of myself to find the missing piece. I sat quietly in meditation until the answer was whispered in my ear.
It was time for me to stand up tall, take care of myself and work hard. I made new wishes—the kind that bettered myself, instead of just my surroundings.
The Universe and I conspired and I was given exactly what I wished for.
My three wishes:
1. A real job.
2. Supporting my family all on my own.
3. A healed relationship with money.
I always get what I wish for. In my daydreams my wishes always turn out perfectly with bells and whistles.
Reality quickly slapped me down—my wishes were granted, but on the terms of the Universe—tailored to fit my learning lessons perfectly.
“Be careful what you wish for.” ~ Chinese proverb
These are the lessons I learned:
1. I did, indeed, get the job of my wildest dreams.
I was invited to earn a living while being of service—writing and editing for elephant journal. My first ever white collar job—I was finally using my degree.
2. I supported my family.
Without financial help, from my family of origin, for the first time ever.
3. I also healed my relationship with money.
A secure job paired with the discipline of mindfulness, my worry about money dissolved. I was rich.
One, two, three! Voila. My wishes were granted. But:
The Universe’s hand-crafted learning lessons for me were shocking.
1. I now spent almost 40 hours a week working.
That computed to dozens of hours I would not spend being a homebody. An unsettling change because I’m a homemaker at heart.
2. We had food in the fridge.
My kids always had money for school fees and lunch money. I paid them “pocket money” to do chores.
3. A healed relationship with money came with increased efficiency.
Lower bills, less square footage to take care of, a maintenance man to shovel my walk, no garden or yard to tend. We’d found ourselves living in a downtown apartment.
Wow! So much for looking down my snobby nose at single moms living in apartments. I quickly had to adjust to being “less than.”
“The essence of oppression is that one is defined from the outside by those who define themselves as superior by criteria of their own choice.”
~ Andrea Dworkin
I was now taking a walk in the shoes, of the very women I had previously scorned—thinking I was better than them.
My perspective had changed. And it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. I actually kind of liked it.
I was forced to see my prejudice by being immersed in it.
Living in an affordable apartment was the most efficient and smart way to raise my kids and work a full-time job.
I still live large because I’ve embraced that less is more. I use my time to serve others.
Author: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: courtesy of Leslie Whiteside