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How I Went From Chaos Earning $400K Per Year To $89K With Peace

I worked on Wall Street for the past 13 years. I made a lot of money but I wasn’t happy. All I seemed to do is work. I got so stressed I was diagnosed with chronic high blood pressure. I also had to take medication to control my feelings, my anxiety and to sleep. My […]

I worked on Wall Street for the past 13 years. I made a lot of money but I wasn’t happy. All I seemed to do is work. I got so stressed I was diagnosed with chronic high blood pressure. I also had to take medication to control my feelings, my anxiety and to sleep.

My spouse was working in lower Manhatten as an insurance agent and going to school at night to get his degree. We have a 9 year old son that had no life other than school and video games when he came home. It was a sad life for us all, until one day, I got sick and tired. My mother always said “if you can change your mind, you can change your life” and she was right.

One Monday morning, I got up at my usual 3 am and I got ready for work. I took my Prozac, my vitamins and eat some dry toast and was on my way to work. Feeling worse than terrible with a dry hacking cough and a head cold I thought to myself “I so wish I could lay in bed and get some rest”. After all, working a 60 hour week was getting utterly exhausting to the point I didn’t even have the time to get groceries for our family anymore.

On my way to work, I imagined how life would be in a small rural area, living a simple life, growing a garden, taking an evening walk, getting to cook our families’ meals and most of all, spending some quality time with our son. After working till noon, I got a 30-minute lunch break and I went to Google: I googled “ways to make a living while being at home”. And something popped up in the results that caught my attention immediately. After all, I was used to the fast-paced life and things that I’d search didn’t usually “grab” my attention as this listing did. It simply said “Tennessee Bed & Breakfast For Sale” and it showed the most beautiful home with a white picket fence, rolling hills, and a peaceful stream. It instantly caught my attention. I took a screenshot of the listing and looked at it imagining how my life could be if only I’d put some legs on my dream and make it happen!

When I got home after 8 pm my son and husband were both home that particular night. I sit down and talked to them about our life and what I’d found online. My son was ecstatic over the thoughts of going to a place with grass, ponds, and places to go in the woods and enjoy the birds and wildlife. My spouse said “how would we make it”, since we only have enough in savings to barely get us through a year and that’s living on a tight budget ?” Then my mind went back to all the years we’d worked only to have a mere $74K in savings. The cost of living in New York was astronomical. So we slept on it.

The next day my husband said, “let’s go see this place”. I had 12 sick days built up that I hadn’t used and I was eager to escape so we got 3 plane tickets and landed in Nashville BNA 3 days later. We arrived and I fell head over hills in love with this quaint manor and didn’t want to ever go back. We were hooked on this southern charm and hospitality. We went to the local bank that was nationwide we were account holders at and put a contract on the estate.

Seven weeks later we closed and moved to Franklin Tennessee. It’s been more than 3 years and I am off my Prozac and blood pressure medications and walk 3 miles a day. Every morning we have guests I fix a country breakfast for our occupants and I’ve learned so much about southern cooking and living. I love every single minute of our lives. Our son is in honors classes at the local school and has made tons of friends and even started playing some sports and loves to hunt and fish. My husband is enjoying the Nashville scene and he is selling insurance and works for one of the largest firms in the state making more than he did in NY.

My advice for any workaholic is this: Escape and retreat because “you’re always one decision away from a totally different life“. Just get to Google and search for a Tennessee Mountain Retreat or B&B.

Susan Hudson

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    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

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