MKE Week 5 – Press Release
This is Emma Zing and today I have the pleasure of interviewing Rob Haayema, a different sort of person, by today’s standards. As I walk up his driveway in this quiet and almost hidden neighborhood, I have to be careful that my attaché case doesn’t scratch the corvette that is shining in the sun on his driveway. As I walk around the corner into the back yard, I hear the crackle of a fire burning and the trickle of a waterfall. This oversized back yard has well-manicured lush green grass and, a jungle gym for kids. There is a rock garden highlighting the waterfall behind it. On the deck area, next to the fire pit is a large gazebo with a glass table and cushioned chairs. Rob has just stoked the fire, turns with a huge smile and extends his hand for a welcoming hand shake. We do our introductions and I take a seat across the table from him in the gazebo. On the table is a gift for me, a leather binder for my notepad with my name engraved on the front of it. (so cool) We are ready to get started.
Emma: I have to compliment you on your back yard, it is like an oasis in the middle of the city. The only thing that seems a little out of place is the jungle gym right in the middle of the yard. It almost seems that there is a story to it, is there?
Rob: Ab-so-pos-a-lootly! That was the first thing that I built with my girls when we bought the place 20 years ago. My girls grew up playing on it, and, in my mind’s eye, I can still see them swinging and sliding on it, and when I have grandchildren, they will be playing on it as well. It may look out of place and a little ugly, but in my mind, it is the most beautiful part of this yard.
Emma: Makes sense. You say you have been here for 20 years, has it always been like this?
Rob: That is a solid ‘no’. I have spent too much of my life working and living paycheck to paycheck, sometimes with more month than money. There was no chance of doing anything extra. The grass had bald spots and weeds, there were tarps covering the things that had to be protected from weather, and I ran out of day before I could get to properly caring for anything back here. When I did have any extra time, I would use it to just be with the girls.
Emma: I wanted to interview you because I was told that you were a different sort of person, by today’s standards, but in a good way. You have such an air of happiness and contentment around you, I can feel it, just sitting here with you, have you always been able to radiate those positive vibes?
Rob: In the past I have tried to hide what I seen as my failures and how disappointed I was in myself, but that doesn’t work. I spent so much time trying to find a way to be happy that I lost the meaning of happiness all together. Just like you can feel the positives now, everyone around me felt the negative air around me then, and they wanted no part of it. Before long, I was alone and working at my job 16-18 hours a day and lying to myself that I was happy. I sustained an injury at work and couldn’t do my job anymore and I found myself at home, on the couch, by myself. With a negative mindset and only partial income my world as I knew it then, was closing in and about to completely crush me.
Emma: So, at that point in time you were normal in today’s standards. That must have been a long time ago. That’s not what I see now. What happened? What changed?
Rob: It wasn’t as long ago as you might think, about 2 years ago. I was online screen surfing when I received a notice about a course that could change the path of one’s life for the better. I figured, why not? Things could only get better (I was having a good day). It was a lot of work but, I am now looking at life in a whole new way. I do not give details of the dark parts of my past because I cannot change it and I don’t want my mind to be reminded of those times, instead, I have chosen to focus on the great life I have now. I have attracted many good people into my life and I can share my in-city oasis with them. My girls are spending a lot more time with me, because they want to, and I can do whatever I choose to do with my time.
Emma: You’re not old enough to be retired, but, are you?
Rob: Retirement is defined differently by each person. I am doing what I want, when I want, with whom I want. I have some commitments that are required to maintain and grow my income, but they are a pleasure to do, so… if that is how you define retirement, then, yeah, I guess I am retired.
Emma: How did you do it?
Rob: Anyone who really wants it can have it. It’s simple just not easy. I set goals, write them down, read them to myself and the universe, act on them, and I believe in myself. Then I rinse and repeat on a daily basis. I focus on the things I can control and leave the things I cannot control to God, He is by my side and watches out for me.
Emma: Thank you for your time, and you are a different sort, by today’s standard, in a good way. It was great getting to know you.
Rob: Thank you for saying that, it means a lot to me. It was my pleasure getting to know you as well. Have an amazing day.
As I drove home from Rob’s place today, I wondered if there was any chance that I could have what he has, that calmness and contentment. He did say “anyone who really wants it can have it”. I will be calling him again, but for personal reasons. I want what he has and he seems to be the kind of person that would be willing to help me get it.