Learn how to take care of yourself. Always have your own money. Dream bigger. These are the three best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given and they all came from my Mom. I was a stubborn kid and a downright obstinate teenager. No doubt my Mom wonders if I ever heard anything she said.
That’s the thing about advice. It’s not till you need it that it becomes advice. Thankfully, my Mom planted these gems at just the right time and together, they have all helped me stay true to who I am, strong and capable.
Learn How to Take Care of Yourself
My Mom didn’t just say “learn how to take care of yourself” she showed me how. How to make a house a home. Write a resume. Give a firm handshake. Have strong work ethic. File taxes. Balance a checkbook. Put money away. Plan something to look forward to. How to give myself a break or a treat. How to exchange money, travel safe and pack light. When to give and when to ask for a hug. How to laugh without reserve. She showed me by example that happiness and dignity are choices. My Mom taught me all of it.
By teaching me what I needed to be safe, happy, healthy and independent, she set me free. Free to walk away from anything or anyone that wasn’t right for me. Abusive boss? I walked away. Controlling boyfriend? I walked away. Slob seeking housewife? I walked away. Men insecure about my independence, career or salary? I walked away. I walked away because I knew, I could take care of myself. Thanks to Mom.
Thanks to what my Mom taught me, I was free to wait. Wait until I met a man who was right for me. By teaching me how to take care of myself, my Mom helped me be a better partner when I finally did decide to get married.
Paolo knew from the very beginning I didn’t need him. I wanted him. There is a huge difference. He knows I can take care of myself. Before him and god forbid, after him. We are on a level playing field as partners and in a giant part, we both owe thanks to my Mom for that.
Always Have Your Own Money
This might come as a surprise but even I, the woman who writes endlessly about how much I love my husband… like a lot a lot, I will always have my own money. Yes, Paolo and I have accounts together but I always have and always will have my own checking, savings and retirement accounts. Only in my name. Only accessible to me.
Money is power. Money is freedom and money is freedom of time. Only I can give these three things to myself and ensure they will stay mine. Paolo knows how critical these things are for me. He sees the comfort they bring me. He wants me to have my own power, money and freedom of time.
With my own money, no matter what, I can always take care of myself. End of story.
This piece of advice was more recent. It came in 2013. While talking to my Mom I confessed I didn’t know what was next. I had already achieved all my life goals. I was happily married. I was happier and healthier than ever. Honestly, I was feeling fortunate. Like I couldn’t ask for more.
You know what she said? Not, what about kids? Or when will you buy a house? No my Mom said “honey you just have to learn to dream bigger.” She was partly joking but that advice came just as I needed it and I’ve carried it with me ever since.
When I decided to leave the corporate world and work for myself, I was dreaming big. When I launched ALOR.blog and went on the road as a nomad, I was dreaming big. When Paolo and I started ALOR Consulting, we were dreaming big. Now, having gained dual citizenship and moved to Italy, I know we are dreaming REALLY big. Now when I find myself wondering what’s next, I’ll hear my Mom’s voice saying “dream bigger.”
Thank you for my wings Mom.