You learn something new every day, so they say. I've been wanting to explore this theory for some time now and it seems an opportunity has finally presented itself to do so. Having suddenly joined the ranks of the unemployed, I find myself with nothing. Or do I? I mean, what is 'nothing' anyway? Maybe I should re-phrase that, because when I look around I have heaps of stuff, just no money - and I mean none. I literally don't have a cent to spend and I have no idea what the future holds but the strange thing is, I haven't been this happy for a long time. Which just goes to show the old chestnut 'money doesn't buy you happiness' must indeed be true. I kid you not, I've been floating around like a flat chested Nigella Lawson, indulgently whipping up all sorts of wondrous creations for the family out of all sorts of random bits and pieces and heartily patting myself on the back for not spending a cent on dinner whilst accepting lashings of praise from the family for my bona fide domestic goddness-ness.
Don't get me wrong, I'm under no illusions that the days that follow are going to be easy. On Friday I cried buckets all day. Come to think of it, I did on Saturday as well and on Sunday I got drunk, which didn't take much as a tee-totaller. But there's nothing like a good old fashioned shock to make you evaluate your life and once the sense of panic and loss had subsided, I was left with an overwhelming sense of calm. My children, bless their hearts have been wonderful. When I broke the news to my 15-year-old, Liam on Friday night he immediately stopped chatting on Facebook, jumped out of his chair, picked me up, carried me through the house and swung me round and round the lounge. Seeing how much joy this brought me, his younger brother valiantly tried to do the same but not being 6'3" like his sibling, the swing was more of a stagger but nonetheless equally hilarious and much appreciated!
He - or I should call him by his name, Ali - short for Alistair - has gone on to become a self-appointed Chief of Candles. In an attempt to save on power we have taken to leaving the lights off at night and as soon as it begins to get dark, Ali goes around lighting candles in the living area. The effects have been quite profound! All of a sudden, dinner has become a cosier, chattier affair, with the kids talking animatedly and at length rather than scoffing their dinner and rushing off upstairs to finish their Xbox Live battle. Once we have gravitated from the dining area to the lounge, the TV no longer goes on but we all sit and talk instead. We figured we had better get used to having no TV as we probably won't be able to afford to pay for Sky much longer but so far this doesn't seem to be any hardship - in fact, quite the opposite, I haven't laughed so much for ages! And as I looked around last night at everyone relaxing and laughing in our cosy, candlelit lounge I found it hard to believe I thought I had nothing, because right then I felt like the most fortunate person on the planet. Laughter is free, which is brilliant because in our house we have a never ending supply!