I didn’t think I had anything to write about today, so I did some hand sewing while I watched a little TV this morning…I watched the movie “Soul Surfer” which was a real tear jerker but in an inspirational kind of way.
Then I checked FB, and one of pages I “like” is called “positive energy”. I “liked” it because it posts some really, really amazing pictures along with their offerings of somewhat sappy quotes and sayings. But today’s somewhat sappy quote resonated with me…
“A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot and realize how blessed you are for what you have.” Author Unknown
Which reminded me to go check my email for today’s daily Tip from the Universe, a little email list I heard about from my friend Jo that sends you an email every day of thoughtful insights and words of encouragement. Here’s what the universe had to say to me today:
The Learning Game:
When there is ease and simplicity in your life, Lori, it’s because earlier you learned a lot.
When there is resistance and obstacles in your life, it’s because there’s even more to learn.
And learning even more, Lori, is pretty much the main reason everyone is still there.
So there’s that to ponder….I’m not sure what exactly that means, (I seldom know what deep philosophical quotes mean!) But the first line struck a cord with me because I think I have learned a lot, I truly believe that I have learned that “stuff” doesn’t make me happy. I don’t need the swankiest car on the block, or the fanciest house and I certainly don’t need an expensive wardrobe to be happy. Besides my greatest blessing which is my family, what makes me happy is having a reliable car, a comfortable home and clothes that fit! And that is why I’ve been able to quit my job, because I finally learned that lesson. Don’t get me wrong, I LIKE to shop, I love going out to eat! But it’s not a priority, it’s a treat that I am able to indulge in when I’ve stuck to my budget for the month and have money left over.
It took me a long time to get here. I’ve been broke. BROKE. The couldn’t pay all the bills due when payday rolled around kind of BROKE; sometimes because my priorities were messed up and I spent money on “fun” stuff before I paid the bills and sometimes because as a single Mom I literally didn’t earn enough to meet my financial obligations (most of which were unnecessary expenses. I could have pared them down to a manageable level) I spent a large portion of my adult life living beyond my means because I felt like the more “stuff” I had to show off, the more often I went out to eat instead of staying home and cooking, the more rounds of drinks I bought my friends at the bar on the weekends, the more successful I was. Dumb. SO DUMB. None of those things that I purchased in order to feel successful ever made me feel as content as the feeling of having all my bills paid at the end of the month. I never knew that….because I never took the time to learn it.
I never realized what a precarious position I put my children in when living that lifestyle; always paying my rent late put them one step away from being homeless. Paying my utility bills late meant there was always a chance that they’d have to spend the night freezing when the power got shut off. It happened once when we had propane heat, they laugh now about warming their hands over 20 candles we had burning but the truth is, if I hadn’t been able to sweet talk the propane company into filling my tank and giving me an extra week to pay it could have become a serious problem and having to pay for the propane the next week meant the car payment didn’t get made, which meant I had to make it up with the following paycheck which meant the rent was late. It was a vicious cycle.
It was a scary way to live and I was too naive to think about what would happen in the future while I was ruining my credit living only in the “now”. I never had savings. NEVER. I didn’t stop to consider what would happen to my children if something went wrong and I couldn’t work because of an illness or lost my job. I always relied on the security blanket called “family and friends”. I was fortunate to have that security blanket but never once stopped to think about what would happen without it, if my family and friends were unable to help.
I spent my forties trying to fix the crap I messed up in my thirties, and in the process realized that I had taught my children to be financially irresponsible. They grew up and live the only way they know; paycheck to paycheck. My oldest was smart enough to marry a man who could teach us all a lesson in living on a budget and saving for the future, and she very likely would never have learned that lesson without him. My youngest has yet to learn it and hasn’t found a mate that’s learned it either. They live the life they want to appear to live instead of living the one they can afford and it makes me very afraid for them and for Peanut. I’ve offered to help teach them the fine art of living within their means, whether or not they take me up on the offer remains to be seen.
I love my simple life, it is the happiest, least stressful it’s ever been and I want more than anything for the people I care about to experience this kind of simplicity for themselves!
Yesterday I babynapped my Peanut and took her for ice cream, I ate the majority of our dollar bowl of ice cream as she preferred her cheerios. (little weirdo!) It was so nice to just be able to spend a couple of hours with her in the middle of the day and to discover that she’s learned to clap and say Yay! Actually, she says “ahhhhhhhhhh” but I know she means Yay!