How I reduced to spend more on whats important.

As a child I didn't go on many day trips or holidays not because we couldn't afford it and not because we were deprived, we just didn't, even a trip to the local park was classed as a treat. I never felt that I missed out, I have fond memories of trips to the local fairs with my grandparents and going to water world during the summer holidays, I knew friends who went abroad and I looked forward to the day I was able to go on my own foreign adventure by aeroplane which happened at the ripe old age of 21. I went to Grand Canaria, I did my first dive there and experienced my first bite from the travel bug that lay dormant inside me, from then on twice a year I went somewhere different further away, as well as the trips I did in the Navy, I would say most of my 20's was spent outside of the UK, I loved it! I remember bits and bobs but no real memories like I had as a child. I had to write down all the places I had visited because even now as i'm thinking, I'm sure I've forgotten most of them! Although I was excited each and every time, I had taken the new holiday for granted, it was a given I was going away but where was the question!

I did not realise that 2009 would be my final holiday to date and again even though we got married on that holiday in the beautiful Caribbean island of St Lucia, I took the holiday itself for granted assured it would happen again the following year. But due to redundancy and the loss of our home, the road to recovery from that has been long and hard, and we have never had a holiday since, my 6 year old has never experienced a trip abroad or a trip in the UK either, mainly due to us not being able to afford it, I did feel bad over the years, it felt like I was putting finances above his happiness, our stress through lack of money caused a massive black cloud to linger over our tiny shack of a house for many years. Until I was shocked into reality.

In 2015 our longtime friends had sold their house and were waiting for their new one in Wales, so they visited us in Oxfordshire, coming for a week but staying for 2 months, it was fantastic, we lived in a 2 bed little wooden shack but home is who is in it not whats in it, I was going to learn that lesson in a heart beat!

Lee is a very strong, well built 6'2 man who is the absolute love of my life and is an amazing father to our son, I had made dinner for us and our guests all eating tuna, vegetables & feta ravioli, when lee started coughing, and saying I can't catch a breath, I could see in his eyes something wasn't right so I said "open your mouth" when he did all I could see was his tongue so I said "put your tongue down" "It is" he replied. That scared me, he got up and paced a bit still not sure what was happening and not wanting to alarm Joe, we carried on with eating and chatting, then Lee just said "lets go" thank goodness our guests were there to have Joe. We got in the car and drove to the doctors, they gave him piriton but nothing happened, by this time I could see he really wasn't well and something serious was happening, the doctor said take him straight to the hospital and give them this note if we wait for the ambulance he won't make it! that thought had not even entered my head, I was a bit panicked and as I set off realised there was no damn petrol in the car, I pulled in at a station filled up, chucked the money at the desk and left, Lee said when I got in the car "did you get the points?" It did make light of the situation for a second. By the time I managed to find the hospital lee was now an almost beetroot colour, sluuring his words and slumped in the seat even the whites of his eyes were totally red and the palms of his hands too, I gave the note in at reception and within minutes he was wired up and being dealt with. We had to wait for 6 hours just in case of a relapse but he was ok after that, how close we came to loosing him only dawned on me afterwards, since that day despite many tests we have never known the cause of the

shock that so very nearly killed him so now has to carry a Epipen with him at all times, but Lee's rough time did not stop there, whilst in the hospital he caught a super bug that plagued him for the next 12 months, it has been a long and very painful journey for Lee, but it does put life into perspective.

How could I worry about such trivia when I could have lost my whole world in a beat of a heart. In the months to follow things that used to matter just didn't anymore, money, car, clothes, stuff, holidays, outings and things became pointless and useless and worrying about it even more so, what meant everything was getting Lee healthy and us being a family, not just people floating through an existence under one roof, but actually valuing each other here and now. So now my eyes are opened to taking each day as it comes, doing whats necessary to survive, pay for the needs and not the wants and choosing life with my family rather than a life filled with stuff that costs a fortune and drowns us in debt that needs escaping from twice a year. I don't know if we will ever go on holiday again sure it would be nice, but I don't feel we're missing out, I don't feel a need to escape our life because we have everything we need, we don't take each other for granted but I do know that filling the day with things to do and places to go, and filling our lives with stuff just because we think it makes us and our family happy actually breeds the need for more, bigger, better and a total lack of gratitude for anything including those around us who actually are the only important things in our lives.

I read something years ago and I never knew it's true meaning until now "build a life you don't need a break from" So now i've reduced my outgoings to reduce the amount needed to work to increase the time we have together. If you were to ask Joe what he wants to do his answer is always the same "lets play together" if you were to ask Lee his answer is always the same "what ever you two want" if you ask me "as long as i'm with them I'm happy" So really we can be in our own back garden in the paddling pool and be totally content without a care in the world every day of the summer holidays!


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