Exactly three years ago around this time, I was in the mountains of northern China, training Kung-Fu on a full-time basis.  Less than two months before that, I had a full-time job that I had been in for over 6.5 years – and just like that, it was all gone. I was layed-off because my firm got acquired, and that was the last time I saw full-time employment.  I negotiated my severance, frustratingly, but nonetheless, I got what I wanted.   I told my boyfriend at the time –  it’s my time now, I’m out of here – see you at Christmas.  With that said, the relationship was pretty much dead by that point.

It was a dark period in my life, but I must say it certainly was a blessing in disguise, as I finally got to do something I’ve always wanted to do. Train all day.  After-all, I spent most of my days sitting in front of a computer – so I wanted to do the complete opposite!

This trip wasn’t just about training – it was life-changing, and I can only find that word to describe it and it still is an understatement. It was humbling. It was painful, mentally and physically. It was the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life.  For those of you who are familiar with Bikram Yoga, I find Bikram Yoga A LOT easier now (I go at least three to five times a week, consistently now).

I spent one month training 5.5 days a week, from 6:30am to 5pm (half-day on Saturdays) in a country I was not familiar with (I do not speak Mandarin), in a part of the country that barely had electricity (imagine the temperature now, without heat in the washrooms, while you showered, while you ate, and while you slept), and was not short of enormous centipedes!

Nonetheless, it was the trip that I needed the most.  I had let everything go – the anger, the resentment, towards my employer and my relationship.  Although I had no idea what I was going to do when I got back, I knew that I was going to be okay.  Because I was financially okay.  All the years that I have saved and invested, and complained that I had nothing to show for –like fancy clothes, a decked-out condo, and fancy car, I had more than that.  I had freedom. My freedom was this $140,000 investment portfolio I had built, and for a 30-year-old, I’d say I’ve done pretty well! I was free to take off on my own adventure, on my own timeline, when I needed it the most to grow up, find myself, pick myself up and start a new chapter in my life.

 

This was priceless. Everyone deserves a second chance, and everyone deserves to be happy.  My financial security allowed me to do that.  Are you ready to build yours?