Suzy and Jill Chapter 1: Losing Everything

Filed: Suzy and Jill @ 5:09pm on July 6, 2010 No comments yet! :(   Word Count: 809
This entry is part 1 of 39 in the series Suzy and Jill

Happiness is both relative and fleeting.  Two years ago, I had the perfect life. Two intelligent kids, a wonderful wife, a successful company, half a dozen dedicated employees, an enormous mortgage-free house , luxury cars (notice the plural) and tons of friends.

That was 2 years ago. You see, I was happy because I reached my goals: financial independence, a loving family and caring friends. But my wife was happy because she reached the goals set by society: a rich husband, a big house, nice cars.

Of course, I didn’t know then that our values were so different. After all, both of us had been happy a decade earlier when we were still living in a small student apartment and eating ramen noodle to help me kick start my product design business. We had nothing by our future and we were still happy.

But slowly we drifted apart and I was losing clients. Contracts were harder and harder to get and sexual activities with Suzy became further and further apart. It became clear that we couldn’t afford our lifestyle anymore as revenues plundered. I sold many of our cars, moved the company to a smaller office and had to painfully part one by one from my employees until I was left alone, returning to my more humble beginnings.

Suzy compensated our loss of revenue by increasing slowly her practice hours, but as she did, she became even more distant and isolated. It’s only later that I realized that she was seemingly happy as long as I was the provider for the family. Now that she brought more money our previously perfect blissful relationship was hanging by its last treads.

Wonderful family week-ends quickly turned into shouting matches. I was completely disoriented. My wife had been my rock, the person I could turn to and suddenly, she was unstable and aggressive toward me. We used to be close partners who could trust each other and now we could barely stand in the same room. Sure, she had been a little distant recently but now she was openly aggressive.

I turned to my friends for advice and I quickly realized that many of them were there for the pool parties and the lavish receptions but couldn’t be found anywhere when I actually needed them.

Quickly enough, I spent more and more time in the office, now empty, while I felt a stranger in my own home. It didn’t take long for Suzy to suggest official separation and kick me out. With no where else to go, I converted one of the many empty offices into a bedroom and thanked God for the shower in the woman’s bathroom which allowed me to stay clean.

The first week was really rough. The lack of oven meant eating sandwiches most of the time, but I found a small camping cooking surface and a convection microwave at Wal-Mart which quickly helped me vary my meals.

As time went by, I slowly got used to my loneliness. For over a decade, I had never been alone more than 15 minutes. I was either surrounded by family, employees, clients or friends. I never had time to just sit down and think about my life. I still frequently saw my kids over the week-end and helped Suzy around the house, but it felt like a part time job when it was my life until recently.

That’s when I realized all the wrong moves I had made. Sure, on the outside, I was successful, but inside, there was nothing. Before the recession, I wasn’t even a product designer anymore, I was just a boss, a manager, an accountant, a sales man. Everything but the one thing I loved to do: design products.

And I couldn’t really blame Suzy for everything either. I had stopped being really there for her, contenting myself of showering her with new acquisitions and surrounding ourselves with shallow people so often that in the end, we rarely had time just for the two of us.

At work, I was once again happy to draw prototypes and let my imagination run wild. Oddly enough, not only was it saving my sanity, it was also saving my business.

You see, what had made my company successful was my own personal creativity. I hired employees to help me increase my revenues but doing so ended up diluting my input and reducing the overall quality of our process.

Now that I was alone again, I was able to sign contracts like those that built my company and not like those that destroyed it.

Instead of just small boring maintenance contracts “Can you alter this chair design ?”, I was once again creating new exciting projects with plenty of visibility.

I was happier professionally and kept thinking: perhaps its time to find time to rekindle things with Suzy. I felt I had found the key to our misery and that this time I could do better.

Series NavigationSuzy and Jill Chapter 2: Enter Jill»

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