Living Below Your Means
How TMF Has Changed My Life

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By millerpim
February 11, 2003

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There's been a lot of discussion lately about who is leaving the Fool community because of having to pay to remain, and maybe for some of you the entertainment factor alone isn't enough to keep you around, but there are so many other reasons why I am staying at TMF that I can barely count them, but let me try.

First, let me say that the Headhunter board has been instrumental in helping me find a new job. Some of you may recall that a year ago, on February 19, as a matter of fact, I dragged my husband out to California and told him it was time to sell the house and move. Of course, this went over like a lead balloon. But I was inspired and in awe of some of you on the LBYM board who, especially after Sept. 11, took inventory of your life and decided to make changes.

I was even a bit envious. I thought "How come they get to up and move? Change jobs? Focus on new careers? Follow their dreams and I'm stuck in a job I positively despise in a city where I don't want to live? And I decided if you guys could do it, so could I.

Remember how I almost blew up my house and myself while spraying the basement with that expanding foam? But I had to seal up the cracks and paint the walls to make the house saleable. And I struggled with the sale, taking almost 90 days to sell, and the whole buying a new house, moving, girlfriend spats, boarding cats to get to California?

It was all worth it.

Goofyhoofy wrote to me today to ask if planned to stay on at The Fool. And I started thinking about all the ways the Fool Community has helped me.

When my lawnmower started smoking and refused to start, the Building/Maintaining a Home board told me what was wrong with it and explained in detail how to fix it. The guys over there also helped me build new basement stairs and put in a back-yard deck. They gave me a fountain of information that I could not have received anywhere else.

The people on Pet Lovers have been there for me every step of the way. Hilary helped me to find a reputable boarding place for my cat so I could fly him out to California without worrying about him. Beej encouraged me to look at adopting an ocicat instead of a Bengal. Rav sent me books on bengals. Windowseat sent me lucky charms to put under my pillow so I could sleep better at night.

LBYM helped me to realize that I need to continue contributing to my retirement fund and that I could take a cab to work and get rid of my car (not that I did it, but it's nice to know). I also received tons of encouragement when I went through some of the most trying times of my life, like when my mother died and my father-in-law died. You people have been extremely supportive and kind (no matter what anybody says).

And the Headhunter Board helped me understand that to get the job I want, I have to "do the job in the interview." And that being 50 doesn't mean that you're out of the job market. I had four interviews in the past two weeks. And the job I really, really wanted, I got. I start work tomorrow at a nonprofit as its communications/public relations manager. I'll be helping to save animals, which is a cause that is precious to me. And it's a new position, so I will be able to build it from the ground up.

Nothing gave me greater pleasure than to send my former boss an e-mail last February saying, quite simply, "I resign, effective immediately." And I never looked back. Never went back into the office again. It was a horribly dysfunctional place, even though I'm sure many of you enjoyed the varied stories about Cruella and my manipulative, controlling boss, but they're OVER, gone, poof!

I hope I don't sound like I'm gushing, but this board has really changed my life for the better, and I am so thankful to so many people that I can't name you all. But you know who you are. At least I hope you do, even if you aren't in my fav list, because I've made my Fav list my UNFAV list, if you know what I mean. So if you're not on that list, you ARE MY FAVORITE PERSON.

The people on the Apple Users board have helped me figure out what was wrong with my Mac, told me how to set up my Outlook to work with my DSL and have helped me find a printer for my new job.

There are some of you on the Low Carbbing board who I already know. That board has helped me to see that I needed to change my diet and way of eating. I've been dropping weight and exercising, something that I haven't done much of in the past couple years. Every single question I posed has been answered and the information is invaluable to me. Nitpicker and Cyberisme have gone out of their way to be of assistance, and I truly appreciate the help. Soon I will fit back into a size six.

I can't begin to list all the money I have saved by utilizing these boards. I imagine it's been thousands and thousands. Somehow, I don't think I have given back as much as everyone has given to me, but I would like to think I have made a bit of a difference to some.

Tomorrow I start my new job. Life couldn't be any better right now. And the nonprofit is giving me paid vacation time as an advance so I can go to China in April to cruise the Yangtze this one last time before the dam floods in June. And I can afford to go because I have managed my finances and LBYM. I even bought my Mercedes last month December. And I still have money in the bank.

Since I'll be a lot busier starting tomorrow and you might not see me around the boards much, I just want to say that life is really good at TMF. It's worth the membership. Thank you, everybody.


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