Thursday, January 28, 2010

Even Tho We Ain't Got Money....

A rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least. - Interview with God (Johann)


Money has such an influence in our lives. Every moment of the day- the thought is there-from the moment you awake, until your dreams overtake you.
Gotta get up and go to work (Money). Gotta gas up the car(Money). Gotta grab some breakfast (Money). Gotta pay some bills (Money). Food (Money). Kids (Money). Clothes (Money)...The list goes on.
And never goes away.
Money has definitely been the one subject that has caused the most friction in my marriage. And I think it is typical of most marriages. Pay this. Pay that. Not this. Not that. Save this. Spend that. There will always be a difference of opinion about where the money will come from, where it will go, and who shall spend it-and on what.

" Life is short and nobody ever went to their deathbed wishing they had spent more time at the office." (Charlie Brown)
As a newly married bride, I made the best I could of a rented home, cast off furniture, yard sale finds and creativity. I spent a lot of time dreaming of something better and bigger and brighter.
In one of my old journals, I wrote that I wished I could afford to buy yellow paint for the bathroom and tiny scented soaps and a pretty hand towel. Those wants seem simple and almost pitiful now, but back then- they were huge.
Which only goes to prove what they say about the more you get, the more you want. Simple things achieved -lead only to more extravagant wishes.
And, sadly, the result of never being satisfied with simplicity- is debt.

"The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately- or in the long run."
Henry David Thoreau
The mistake that we all make about money, is that it will keep coming and we will keep living.
To face the truth is painful, but some day very necessary. We will all die. What will that shiny car and new house be worth then? Will all those years of toil and work be worth the satisfaction of lying on your death bed and looking at all those things you bought?
Or rather, will the faces of those you love, bring you overwhelming peace? Will memories of days spent well mean more than money spent well?

“Time is free, but it's priceless.
You can't own it, but you can use it.
You can't keep it, but you can spend it.
Once you've lost it- you can never get it back.”
Harvey MacKay

My husband and I keep saying that we will someday return to the hills of Missouri where he fondly spent some of his childhood. We have often discussed building a cabin or cottage and planning it so that we will owe nothing but our monthly utilities.
But even then- simplicity gets complicated. Where do you draw the line?
At first I said- "one bedroom with a loft", then it was "two bedrooms" (extra for guests).
Then I decided there was no way I could exist without a pantry- a laundry area, a computer center, a screened porch, a garage, and lots of storage.
Back to Square One.
Simplicity is not simple. You have to wrap your mind around it. You have to be content with less.
But also realize that in the end, you will be richer.
"Money may be the husk of many things but not the kernel. It brings you food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; acquaintance, but not friends; servants, but not loyalty; days of joy, but not peace or happiness. " ~Henrik Ibsen

When I was growing up, I never considered us a poor family. But, in retrospect, I suppose we were.
We got two new outfits every fall when school started. We owned a couple of pair of socks and underwear- and hand me downs were priceless. There were ten of us living in a two bedroom house.
But the fact that we were happy and loved- disguised the fact that we were poor.
What price is Happy? Sometimes it must be for the lack of money that we truly discover it.
"To suppose as we all suppose, that we could be rich and not behave as the rich behave, is like supposing that we could drink all day and stay sober." ~Logan Pearsall Smith
My goal this year is to take a better reign on my finances. To cut back where possible, to save when needed, and to set priorities so that the process of debt elimination is painless and quick.
We are in better shape this year than last. Which is a plus.
But- would it not be wonderful to sit back and say- "Let's spend the day laying in a hammock- and come nightfall- watch the stars." And to not worry one iota that eight hours of labor and sweat was not necessary to make it through the day? Or the next twenty years?
"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back
and realize they were the big things."
- Robert Brault

I married my husband to live my days with him.
To share sunsets, not a sedan.
To share moments, not a Master Card.
To share kisses, not contempt.
To fondle and not fight.
To live simply, not stressed.
To breathe and not be afraid to keep breathing.
It doesn't take much to live comfortably. And I'm ready to give up all my garbage for a walk in the leaves, the sweet song of the birds, my husband at my side- carving wood or playing guitar-
or holding my hand on the porch swing.
Simplicity will ultimately cost us something. Mostly time. The tossing away of greed. Of competition with friends and neighbors. The gotahaveitnow attitude.

I'm ready.
Like someone named Wu- Men once said, "If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life."
"I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself,
than be crowded on a velvet cushion."
from the chapter "Economy" in Walden

Today's Five Things:
1. Grand kids
2. Pillows
3. Shaved legs
4. Spinach
5. A full moon