I have spent the past several years caring for loved ones. I helped care for friends who had serious illnesses, and I became a full-time caregiver for my mother until she passed away from terminal cancer in 2009.
While caring for my mother, I received a carer pension which helped pay the bills and provided a little spending money, but I never had a lot financially. Living on a limited, fixed income has its challenges, but they never bothered me too much. My tastes are simple: I like to swim, walk and cycle; once in a while I go to a movie or have a meal out, and I enjoy visiting friends and chatting over a glass of wine or a barbeque and beer, or watching a sunset over the sea.
I live in a great location twenty minutes from the city and only three blocks from the beachfront, where I can access walking/cycle tracks that go for miles. The train station is five minutes away, along with a main street with shops, supermarkets, library, community center, picnic areas, pier, and friendly cafés with great coffee or chai latte and cheesecake. It has been the perfect location for this part of my life’s journey, and I feel blessed to have been led here.
In caring for my loved ones, there have been plenty of challenges and times when I have felt stretched emotionally. There were also times when a little extra cash would have been nice, but in the years I have been in this situation I never really lacked for anything. Living on a fixed income makes you consider what you really need—after all, how many pairs of shoes can you wear?—and although I don’t own my home, I have a reasonable rent and no debts.
During my journey as a carer, I discovered that peace of mind and heart is something far greater than a smooth ride through life with plenty of cash. Money simply can’t equal the reassurance of knowing I have been in the right place doing the right thing; that I have done everything I possibly could for others, and that I have no regrets.