In a Strange Land: Four

My exile from the land of earning was voluntary. I had, as they say, the wherewithal. It was not a case of being fortunate, though I knew that in many ways I had been. On a global scale, I was privileged. In a context more mundane, in the stratum of contemporary men of similar background, having the wherewithal was not a birthright. It did not just happen and nor was it luck or good fortune.

If I had no present worry about, well, cash flow, I owed it to my own foresight ten, twenty and thirty years ago. I felt grateful to the man I had been.

I had made a living in a land of schedules and deadlines, meetings and work products. There were none of those now in exile, except those of my own creation. There were no Monday to Friday workweeks anymore. I had left those behind, and the new landscape of seven-day weeks had taken some getting used to.

I had brought with me into exile habits of modest frugality. It was, in fact, a comfortable frugality. I was never a crusader for simple living. I saw no shame in occasional luxury but neither did I live beyond my means or very far beyond satisfaction. Still, I would not stop living in order to be more fully prepared for the unexpected.

A good life was not about money management just as a good meal was not about cooking skills.

The good was in the moment. It was in the quiet thunder of the emotional tremor of that moment. It was a fulfillment and gratitude that could never be purchased or owed.

And yet, I knew that achieving a level of financial comfort made life easier, and I wondered whether I would have been capable of having lofty thoughts about fulfillment if I had gone into exile with less in my pocket.

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