GUEST XCHANGE STORY - SALLY BATT, MELBOURNE
I was 54 and after many years of partnership in marriage and business, I found myself in a position that I could never have imagined or would ever want anyone else to experience. My husband and I had separated and our business had failed. I was broke and on my own. I had read stories about people that found themselves in similar situations and while I had compassion, I had no real comprehension of just how scary it is. I had moments of terror wondering how I was going to be able to find my own place. How could I create enough income to pay the bills when I had no formal education or professional training to support me in a job that paid me well enough? I found myself relying on my wonderful friends for a bed and living from house to house. I can acknowledge myself for launching and developing my photography business over the past 18 months and for having the courage to pursue something that I loved to do, but it wasn't enough to support me. I would have to find other ways to make money and I knew it would have to be full-time. I was fearful of my future and resentful that while I had discovered something very fulfilling, I would not have the resources to actually do it!
When my daughter came across The Room Xchange I saw it’s potential but I have to be honest and say, that in my low state of mind, it sounded like it might be a less than desirable option. However, I promised her that I would look into it and I made contact with The Room Xchange immediately. I received a call from one of their Customer Care Team, who not only made it very easy but also had a very real understanding of just how difficult my situation had been and the toll it was taking on my mental state. They allowed me to go through the mental shift necessary for me to grasp the amazing solution The Room Xchange actually was for me. Doug Larson said “Sometimes opportunity knocks, but most of the time it sneaks up and then quietly steals away”. That is so true! I am so grateful that I made that first contact and that they stuck with me!
I was very quickly matched with a young professional couple and after a conference call and then a meeting, we agreed we were a good match and I moved into their home a week later. Catherine and David are young, passionate, committed and very busy! They welcomed me completely and we very quickly became accustomed to each other. It was so easy! The difference this has made to my life is massive. My first night in my new home was amazing! I had somewhere to unpack as I finally had a wardrobe. I had a feeling of security for the first time in so long. I felt safe and that felt seriously great! I finally had a home. Given my life has been about being a mother, running David and Catherine’s home is easy for me and a wonderful thing.
The most amazing thing for me now is that I don't have to worry about finding paid work. I finally have the freedom to focus on my passion - photography. This has been incredible and without the fearful thoughts of "How the hell do I survive, let alone thrive?" running through my head. I have found a whole new level of effectiveness and creativity inside of my love affair with my camera. The fact that I am suddenly finding myself inundated with inquiries and new clients is no coincidence. The shift in my mental state has allowed for increasing opportunities to show up in a way they never have. It is quite remarkable.
The Room Xchange has provided me with a whole new future. I know I am going to flourish and prosper now. As a footnote, I also know there are many, many other women over 50 who have found themselves in a similar position to me. Their unlucky circumstances leave them feeling like they have no say over how they live their lives. This amazing social enterprise is an extraordinary solution for them. It does far more than match people together for practical support: it restores dignity and provides a fresh start for those who need it.
Written by Sally Batt, Guest in Melbourne.