I want to tell you about the alternative lifestyle I have today. Before I do that, I thought it may be a good idea to tell you something about who I used to be, what happened, where that changed me, and how all that made me into who I am now. My story may give you an idea why I live the way I do now. I will be brutally honest, except where to share some confidences may hurt or embarrass others.
Back in the day I was a Banker specialising in International Treasury Management. My salary and bonuses were much more than generous. When I travelled I flew at the front of the aircraft, where the champagne is given away free. When I was in New York I stayed at the Plaza on 5th. I never used public transport or ordinary taxicabs, (excepting in London where everyone uses the black cabs). I only ever ate at the best places, where they serve the best food and the finest wines. I only drank in the exclusive bars.
I worked at least a 60 hour week. If travel time is included I sometimes worked 3 or 4 days without a break. I once visited Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Olso, and San Francisco, in a single week.
My major vices were booze, carnal women, a long-term affair, and the over-use of power. I have never had a one night-stand with a woman, nor have I ever smoked or taken anything other than prescription medication. I did not abuse either over-the-counter or prescription medication. The dose of Prozac I was prescribed was bad enough on it’s own.
Regular exercise was a thing of the past. I had no hobbies left. Sometimes, if I could find the time, I would walk around the block near my hotel, and that was about the extent of my aerobic work. Consequently I was overweight and I was always out of breath. I had high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, and an uncertain temper. My marriage was on the rocks. I was sporadically attending meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.
My career was killing me.
It came to a head on Madison in New York, when I was in the boardroom of an advertising conglomerate. I was attempting to tell the chief financial officer that what he wanted could not be done, not with the state of banking technology at the time. The guy would not listen to me, kept interrupting and contradicting me. Out of the blue I found myself thinking; ‘if you don’t shut up I will walk around this table and smack you in the mouth.’
It is never a good idea to hit a client. In any event this guy was built like a professonal football player, (American Football), and I’m a small chap. Afterwards, I realised I was in the middle of a breakdown ~ (nerveous breakdown, psychological breakdown, who knows?).
Right in that meeting I decided it was time for me to get out of the banking business. However, I must have impressed a little because we all signed a ‘heads of agreement’, and I collected a fat cheque as an upfront payment. Then I flew back to the City of London, walked into see my Director, and promptly resigned. Which went down like a bag of vomit. After all, I had the Midas touch.
It didn’t turn out so well for King Midas either.
I never once went back into the banking business. I have done a lot of other crazy stuff before I got here, but I will tell you some of that next week.