Posts filed under ‘thoughts’
I received an interesting email in response to my post Do You Have Enough?. A reader asked a very simple question. How do you know if and when you have enough?
This question is not about having enough money. That’s a topic for a different day. The question is whether your quest for money and/or your lack of focus is actually getting in the way of enjoying your life.
Here’s a simple way to address the question for yourself. Find a quiet room, sit down and create a list of items you feel you can’t live without. Don’t think about the basics like food and shelter. Instead consider who or what makes you happy? If you have trouble creating a list try thinking about your past. Are there specific events in your life that you recall with fondness and warmth? Try to write down at least three or four things that truly fill your life with happiness and joy.
As you reflect upon this list sit quietly again and contemplate your current life choices. Do you spend time with the people whose names you wrote down on your list? Do you carve out time for moments that bring you joy?
Now begin to think about your day-to-day routine. Are you squandering your time on things that don’t really matter? Do you find yourself participating in a bunch of activities that don’t make you happy? Do you make time in your day for the things that really matter? If not, why not?
A lot of people work long hours at meaningless jobs and find themselves too exhausted to carve out time for the people they love and the passions they crave. We all know we don’t need to drive expensive cars or fill our closets with endless articles of clothing, yet we spend our most vital hours slaving away at jobs that help us buy things we don’t really want or need.
When you begin to ask yourself what it means to have enough you may find that you already have it. You may be wasting time, the most limited of resources, focusing on all of the wrong things. Things that don’t bring you any happiness or joy.
Maybe you don’t need to waste countless hours at a meaningless job. Maybe you could earn less money and actually lead a more enjoyable life. Maybe you don’t need to climb the corporate ladder. Maybe work should not be the biggest focus in your day.
By defining what enough means in your own life you may be able to refocus your energy. With a little reflection you may be able to stop the cycle of quick gratification, (buying things you don’t really want or need), and instead spend time on the people and projects that truly matter.
With this new perspective you may be able to avoid the spending cycle. Imagine if you saved more of your money and began setting aside your paycheck for the things that really matter. Maybe you could retire earlier, find a job that pays less money, relocate to friends or family or move to a smaller home.
With a little reflection and gratitude you may find that you have more than you think you do. At that point you can decide how best to refocus your energy to savor and enjoy the things and people you love.
When I met my husband he told me he wanted to build an empire. An empire? It was a concept that completely baffled me. I grew up in a three bedroom rancher. I lived in the corner bedroom, so I could hear my brother snoring when I pressed my ear against the southern wall and my father snoring when I pressed my ear to the west. It was a tiny, but comfortable house. My parents moved in when I was an infant, so it was also the only home I had ever known.
These days I live in a two story home with a finished basement. Although I should be happy living in a modest brick home in an upscale neighborhood I often feel constricted by it. The house doesn’t seem to fit my personality. When my husband works in his study it feels like he’s on the other side of the moon. A supportive wall and staircase separates his working space from the living room where I spend much of my time.
The house is much larger than the one I grew up in, but strangely enough I find myself craving the closeness of that tiny rancher. Until I sat down to write about it I never realized what it was about this house that seemed strange. It’s not the house, but rather the way I grew up I suppose. I could hear my parents talking in their bedroom when I sat in the living room eating Lucky Charms and watching cartoons. In my current house that simply isn’t possible. I think I miss the way the structure of our home created a feeling of closeness and security for me.
Based on that tiny house I couldn’t fathom the idea of building an empire. Don’t I have enough already?
It’s difficult to wrap my head around the concept of enough. It’s not just about the properties you own or the house you keep it’s about everything in your life. I am fortunate in so many ways and grateful for the life I’ve been granted to lead.
The definition of having enough is different for everyone. For me it involves focusing on the things that make me happy and number one on that list is spending time with the people I love. It’s the reason I quit my job and decided to stay at home with my son. Will my earning power decrease as a result of my decision? Most definitely. Will I regret not staying home more? Most definitely.
I don’t need much in the way of material possessions to make me happy. I don’t need a fancy car or an expensive house. I don’t need lots of clothes in my closet or shoes on my feet. I don’t crave fancy gadgets and computers.
Have you ever thought about what you need in life? Have you written your thoughts down on paper or typed them into your computer? I started to create a list and then realized that having enough might just cover the bare necessities. You know food, water and shelter.
Off the top of my head I want more than the basics. I want a roof over my head, a clean home that is void of dirt and dust, a fridge filled with healthy food, air conditioning in the summertime and heat in the winter (or to live in a climate like Hawaii where neither is needed), hot water when I want to bathe or shower, a large glass of ice water on a warm summer day, a comfortable bed with soft sheets and pillows that I can fluff behind my head and a hammock where I can rest and feel the breeze. I want to live in a place that’s not too far from the ocean. I don’t mind driving a few hours to get there, but please don’t drop me in a place where I can’t reach the beach. I long to listen to the waves and to feel the sand in between my toes.
I want infinite amounts of time to spend with the people I love. I know that’s not possible so I’ll kindly accept however much time I’ve been granted. I want to suck up the small everyday moments in life. I don’t need to travel the globe. I can find a lot of satisfaction and joy in things that are closer to home, like watching my son’s eyes light up as we pluck dandelions from the yard and blow seeds wherever the wind will take them or simply staying up late snuggling while watching a movie with my husband.
My husband and I don’t always see eye to eye on the definition of enough. Although he doesn’t want to own fancy cars or buy expensive watches, I know that he does want to build an empire. I admire his drive and determination, yet sometimes I worry that it will kill him.
Do you think you have enough in life? What else do you want or need to make you feel that way?
Over the years I’ve written a lot about purging clothing and other unwanted items from my home. Although I’m primarily a minimalist I still struggle to get rid of sentimental belongings like my son’s baby clothes and toys. Usually my clutter-free mentality wins out over my more emotional side. I tend to convince myself, (and rightfully so), that removing unnecessary and unused stuff frees emotional and physical space for my family to live. With that in mind I’m usually able to bag stuff up and carry it off to the local donation center and truth be told once it’s gone I rarely if ever think about it again.
This weekend as I was cleaning out a downstairs closet I came across four duvet covers that were never used. Each blanket was a beautiful pastel color either turquoise, purple, pink or yellow. I bought them from a Linens-N-Things clearance bin over seven years ago! The original price was over $100, but I believe I bought them for either $19.99 or $29.99 a piece. At the time I couldn’t resist the bargain.
I’ll be honest. When I bought them I thought they were just small blankets. They were used as store displays and weren’t in their original packaging. When I got them home and discovered that they were duvet covers I should have returned them immediately to the store, but back then I bought things because they seemed like good bargains and kept them because I was sure I could buy duvet inserts or find some other use for them.
I placed them in a closet with every intention of using them, but the years passed and they continued to sit unused and abandoned. A year or so ago I found them in that closet and took them out of their wrapping determined to find a use for them. Yesterday when I found them staring back at me I decided it was finally time for them to go.
I was gathering items for our location donation center and pulled out a large trash bag to hold everything we intended to deliver. I opened the bag with one hand and held the blankets in the other. Even after seven years I had a hard time donating them. I couldn’t believe I wasted somewhere between $80 and $120 on them. I found myself asking, “Shouldn’t I keep them? Can’t I find a use for them? Won’t I use them?”
I considered using them for other purposes. Maybe cutting them up and making something out of them. In retrospect I could have made some really awesome pillows out of them, but I rarely sew, I’m not very good at it, so I don’t know how well they would have turned out anyway. It almost seemed a shame to cut them up. It seemed like someone should use them for their intended purpose before taking scissors to them. After holding those blankets out for a minute or two and contemplating my options I ultimately decided that someone else would probably make better use of them.
But I’ll be honest. It was difficult to throw those duvet covers into that bag. I hated the very notion of getting rid of something I spent good money on and never even used.
Do you struggle to get rid of things you’ve never used? Do you try to convince yourself that one day you’ll wear them or find a use for them?
Tell me I am not alone.
If you were about to pay off your mortgage would you throw a party to celebrate? It’s an interesting question for me. Although my last post may have been viewed as bragging, (at least I received one email letting me know it was perceived that way), I am not usually one to toot my own horn in real life.
When I purchased my beach house I didn’t tell my close friends or family. While my husband and I have worked hard to secure our finances I also know that we have been quite fortunate in life. I certainly didn’t want my success to make anyone else feel bad, so I kept my home a secret for nearly a year.
When I finally leaked the news to my close friends they were thrilled for me. If they were envious of my success they certainly didn’t show it, nothing in their body language gave any sign of animosity or jealousy.
When I make new friends and meet new people I almost never tell them my husband and I own a home in North Carolina. I feel like people would view me differently and not in a good way. When it does come up in conversation I always downplay the details. I tell them our house is only one story and a bit farther back from the beach than most. I try to be modest and fear that a mere mention of my beach home will be perceived as bragging.
While I would absolutely love to throw a party to celebrate the end of a mortgage I’m not sure that other’s would be so quick to celebrate alongside me. If you were invited to a mortgage free party would you be happy to celebrate with the homeowners or bitter that you weren’t in a similar predicament? Given my current situation I would be happy for my friends and family, but if my finances were in a not-so-fortunate state I’m not sure how I would feel about it.
I am extremely open about my finances on this blog, but only a few of my close friends know about it. I hate the idea that people would perceive me differently if they knew how much I owed and how much I was worth. In fact that’s the primary reason I blog anonymously.
What about you? As you write the last check to your mortgage company would you consider throwing a party to celebrate?
It seems kind of crazy to think that I haven’t driven to an office in over a year and a half. In November of 2011 I held my newborn son and simultaneously waited for my severance check to arrive. My unexpected layoff and associated severance package was a blessing, but I still wasn’t prepared for life without work.
I interviewed and accepted a new job just weeks after learning about the elimination of my position. I’ve received steady paychecks since the age of 15 and couldn’t imagine a life without them. I worked out a deal to begin the new position six months after the birth of my son, but from the moment I accepted the offer I struggled with my desire to stay home full time. A month or so before the new job was set to begin I reversed my decision.
I know I made the right choice. The past year and a half has been a magical journey and I feel both fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to stay home with my son.
But now that I’ve been home for so long I wonder if I shouldn’t make a plan to return to work. Initially I planned to stay home for six months, which quickly turned into a year and a half. It’s been nearly eighteen months since my son arrived and I am still home with him. Now I wonder how much longer I’ll be here.
My son was born in October and in our state he can’t start kindergarten until after he turns five. If I wait until he’s school age I’ll be out of the workforce for almost six years.
I started thinking about this while I was walking around the neighborhood. Pushing the stroller on a beautiful spring day I thought, “six years seems like an unbelievably long time to be out of work,” so I asked my husband for his opinion and was quite surprised by his response. He said, “I assumed you would never go back to work.”
I can tell you that I never considered a future in which I would not return to work. So after I stopped laughing at his response I asked him if he was serious. When he said he most definitely was I asked him for more details.
Here are his thoughts:
- My son won’t start kindergarten for another four and a half years.
- If I got pregnant with another child, (the jury is still out on that decision), and I decide to stay home until he or she starts school you can easily add on another couple of years.
- In a little over nine years we will own both of our homes outright.
- If we include additional principal payments we could pay off our primary home within seven and a half years.
- Once our primary home is paid off we could apply the money we previously spent on our mortgage to pay off principal on our beach home. That would decrease the life of that mortgage by at least one year.
- By the time both of our houses are paid off our monthly expenses, (due to the lack of mortgage payments), will drop dramatically.
- Without a mortgage our rental home would finally return a profit or at least break even.
- If all goes well, the market remains high, my husband’s business flourishes and our investments continue to do well we will have a healthy sum of money in our bank accounts.
I certainly never considered a future in which I didn’t need to work, but now that my husband mentioned it my mind is swimming with possibilities. Rather than searching for a high paying job in a very lonely cubicle I could find a position that I really enjoy. If things move according to plan I could do just about anything.
I’m not sure how we will proceed as the years pass by. I always question prepaying mortgages during a time with low interest rates and you never know how the market will perform as time progresses, but I must say it’s nice to think about a life in which I don’t need to work anymore.
For the most part my husband and I speak open and honestly about our finances and since we can both log on to our bank accounts, request free credit reports and view the details of our credit cards I like to think that we can’t hide much information from one another. Being equally responsible for our finances certainly helps us remain accountable.
Every once in awhile my husband leaves out a few details about something he plans to purchase or a project he plans to complete. Last year he told me a landscaping project would cost $600, but forgot to include the additional costs of moving dirt and buying plants, which more than doubled the final price. We prioritized this project quite differently, so it’s certainly possible that he purposely left out this information so I would agree to spend money on it. Of course, it’s equally possible that he just didn’t think about the additional costs when we first discussed it.
I don’t hide purchases, but I certainly don’t point out every new outfit or toy I buy for my son. I figure my husband will eventually see my son playing with something new or dressed in something cute. Plus, he journals the credit card transactions and is free to ask me about any of the purchases I make. In other words even if I don’t tell him, he still sees exactly where the money goes.
I would like to believe that we discuss our financial concerns with one another and that neither of us feels like anything is off the table. When I worried about losing my job, (I was eventually laid off), we talked about it often. And since my husband owns his own company we often talk about contracts and employees. When he’s worried about losing work we usually talk about that too.
Over the past two weeks I’ve written a lot about unequal financial gifts from parents and during that time I’ve noticed a definite trend among the comments and emails I received. It seems that most people simply do not talk to one another about money matters.
I can certainly understand why it would be difficult to talk with a sibling about perceived inequalities and that a child might not want to discuss their hurt feelings with parents who provide unequal gifts, but sometimes just talking through these things helps clear the air.
I wonder how many people discuss money matters with their family members. Do you talk with your loved ones about your financial concerns? If not, why don’t you talk about money with the people you love? Is it because you don’t feel like it’s any of their business or that their details aren’t any of yours?
If you feared job loss would you tell your significant other? If not, why not? Is it because you don’t want to worry them unnecessarily? Why would you choose to keep financial details to yourself, especially if they were matters that weighed on your soul?
I want to thank all of the readers who left comments on last week’s posts: What Do You Think: Unequal Financial Handouts From Parents and Unequal Financial:Handouts Would You Turn Down a Gift From Your Parents? I appreciate the honesty and sincerity in your words. I wanted to leave a few last remarks on the topic.
I have never dealt with financial inequality in my own family. For the most part my parents treat my brother and I equally. If my mom buys something for me she makes every effort to purchase a gift of equal value for my brother or his family. There is only one time in my entire life that I can remember my parents not evening the score. They once paid for gutter covers for my brother’s house, but did not offer my husband and I any money in return. When I brought the inequality to my parents attention, (I only mentioned it because the discrepancy had gotten into my husband’s craw), they offered to write me a check for the same amount of money. (I did not take them up on that offer.)
My parents do not have a lot of money, which may make it easier for them to treat my brother and I fairly. I really cannot say. I do think it helps that my brother and I hold/held down high paying technical jobs and that we are both careful with money. Thankfully neither one of us has ever needed to rely on my parents. When we were growing up my father stressed the importance of a college education. My parents paid for our college expenses with the understanding that once we received our diplomas we would be on our own.
As for my own immediate family, I have only one child, so I cannot comment on financial equality among children in my own household. Though I hope I would always be fair, I’m sure that many other parents who treat their children unfairly once believed the same thing. In an ideal world wouldn’t we want everyone to be treated equally?
Although I have not dealt with financial inequality in my own life I have certainly witnessed it within my extended family. Regardless of the reason for unequal financial handouts the result is usually the same: someone gets hurt. No matter how strong and capable you are it can be difficult to watch a sibling receive financial handouts from your parents, especially when that sibling does not appear to work as hard or focus on saving as much as you do. There is nothing worse then seeing a loved one hurt by members of his or her own family. Parents may feel that they are simply providing more money to one of their children, but in reality the other child is left feeling unappreciated and unloved.
In my heart I like to believe that most parents do not willing hurt their children. I like to think that these parents do not realize how their actions are perceived by the children who are not receiving gifts. I hope that they want the best for all of their children, not just the one who is always holding a hand out for them to fill.
Am I being naive? Perhaps parents know exactly what they are doing and proceed with their actions fulling knowing that one of their children will be hurt. Maybe they think that their other child is strong enough to handle their decisions. Perhaps they really just don’t care.
From what I’ve seen in families where financial inequality exists there is also a lack of communication among family members. The golden child continues to receive handouts, while the other child sits by unable to speak up about the situation. Of course, in these situations communication may not matter. When the topic is broached the parents usually have one reason or another to continue favoring a child and while the parents try to legitimize their actions the other child may hear nothing but excuses.
The best course of action in this situation is to try and release the bitterness you feel. You have to accept the situation for what it is and try not to let the negative feelings overwhelm you. At the end of the day you have absolutely no control over the way your parents dole out their money, so your best action is not to brood over the fact that you are being treated unfairly.
If you are lucky enough to be successful then the good news is that you don’t need your parents money. You made it on your own. You can count the blessings in your life and focus on the positive things that surround you. Do you have a good relationship with your spouse or significant other? Are the people in your life healthy and strong?
I know that this won’t make up for the injustice you feel, but the truth is you have little to no say in the matter. If your brother or sister is willing to put his or her hand out for money your parents will continue supplying them with gifts. This will probably continue for most if not all of their adult lives. Since the situation is unlikely to go away your best option is to try to relax, breathe and do your best to look beyond it.
I realize this is all easier said then done. Believe me, I do, but in time it does get better if you change your frame of mind about it. I am thankful that we do not need the support of other family members. It doesn’t make their actions right, but it does feel good knowing that we don’t need to rely on anyone other than ourselves. These days I’ve changed my perspective on the topic of unequal financial gifts from family members. I know I can’t do anything about it and as a result I’ve decided not to carry all of that bitterness around with me anymore.
I received quite a few comments and emails after writing my last post What Do You Think: Unequal Financial Handouts From Parents. Many readers felt that the situation was unfair, that the younger, less driven sibling should not receive additional gifts from his parents and that the more successful brother was being penalized for his accomplishments.
Via email one reader wrote, “It would be difficult to turn down a gift from my parents. Why would I want to turn free money away?” This is an interesting question and I can certainly answer it from my own point of view.
First of all, in my experience free money is rarely free. There are usually strings attached in one form or another. If your parents bought you a house they may set rules on how it should be maintained, they may get angry when your children roughhouse on the furniture they purchased or when walls and floors are damaged. They may feel like they have liberties to offer suggestions and even make changes to your home without your permission. They may hire contractors and lead them through your home to investigate changes when you aren’t around.
In the example of parents buying a house there may be many bumps along the road. What happens if you want to make improvements on the house? What if they don’t like the decisions you make? What happens when you decide to sell your home? Will they now tell you where to buy your next house or tell you that the new neighborhood you choose is not suitable for their tastes? What if they think you are selling at the wrong time, for example your family expands, but market prices are low?
They may also hold this gift over you. This may make you feel like you need to visit with them more often, agree in conversations where you clearly have differing opinions or allow them to hold a greater control over general decisions in your life.
When my husband and I first looked at beach properties my in-laws offered to loan us some money to buy our second home. My husband was eager to own a property and would have taken his parents up on his offer, but I politely refused. Given our circumstances we certainly were NOT in need of a beach house and I did not want to become indebted to my in-laws.
I believed we should fund the home through our own means and if we could not wrangle enough money for the down-payment and monthly mortgage payments then we should not own. I held true to that belief and my husband now agrees that this decision was the best one we could have made. We have gotten into quite a few arguments with his parents over the years and owing them money would have complicated matters extensively.
In the particular scenario I mentioned in my last post I believe it would be even easier for the less successful brother to turn down the house he was offered. In addition to strings and complicating family relationships there is also the issue of inequality. If he earns as much money as his more successful brother did at the time he purchased his beach house, then there is no reason he too cannot buy a beach house all on his own. He could also offer to pay his parents for the house if he wanted the particular house they picked out for him. He could explain that it seems unfair to receive a house for free when his brother pays for one.
The problem I have with this scenario is that the brother always seems to accept the gifts his parents give him. At the root of it I suppose I simply have a very different perspective on taking things from people. Right or wrong I want to make it on my own. I’m sure the less successful brother feels like his parents WANT him to have the gifts he offered, so there is no reason not to take them. In fact, he may feel like he is insulting his parents by refusing them. Do you believe this may be the case or is the truth that the brother wants all that the successful brother has even though he didn’t have to work for it? In the end is he just being selfish? I really can’t decide.
My fingers are hovering above the keyboard. I write a sentence then delete it. Type a paragraph and then make it disappear. I have thoughts swirling in my head but can’t seem to line them up in an orderly fashion.
I’m struggling with a philosophical question that has plagued me for well over a decade. Is it wise for parents to provide financial assistance to their adult children and if so is it okay for them to do so in an unequal fashion? Now I’m not talking about health issues that would result in one child needing more money for therapy or daily living. I’m talking about a family with two children who have similar capabilities and intelligence.
One child is a ‘go-getter.’ He worked hard in school and graduated with two degrees. Before graduating he was offered a job at a company he worked for in college. His skills and knowledge from schoolwork and internships led to a high starting salary. As the years progressed his wages also rose. He took greater risks in his career by becoming an employee of smaller companies where he could learn aspects of running a business. He proved himself in the industry and ultimately formed his own company.
The other child did not take advantage of his opportunities. He failed out of college twice and lied to his family about the failure for over three years. Without a degree he started working at a much lower salary then his brother.
The good news is that the past is the past. It has been nearly ten years since the second child failed out of school. He has been working in the industry for quite some time now and earns close to six figures and well over $200,000 as a family.
The ‘go getter’ brother earns a solid income, but he is also wise with his money. He began investing in his 401(k) a year out of college, he drives old cars, he doesn’t spend money recklessly and he saves for both short and long term goals. As a result he has been able to buy a primary house and a beach home. He paid for both houses with money that he and his spouse earned from their day jobs. (I should note that he purchased these homes at quite a young age and was making less per year than the second sibling currently earns.) He still has mortgages on both properties.
The second brother could not afford a beach house at this point in time, but his parents have offered to buy him one. The house would be his free and clear, but the parents would still make all decisions regarding the home and the contents that reside within it. In other words the brother will not have to pay to fix a broken refrigerator, figure out what type of couch to buy or determine when mattresses get replaced, but it will be paid in full and he would not pay a mortgage, property tax or homeowners insurance in order to use it.
So my question is this: Do you think the parents should give the house free and clear to the second brother?
I have actually changed my thoughts on this subject more times then I can count. On one hand I realize that the go getter’s life will not change on account of his brother receiving a house. He paid the mortgage last month and and will continue paying it next month. His brother’s windfall will bear no financial impact upon him.
However I wonder if a sense of resentment will not build over time for all that his sibling has been given. After all, imagine that you are paying a monthly mortgage payment, homeowners insurance, maintenance fees, property tax, etc, while your brother gets to enjoy his home free and clear. Without a $3000 mortgage payment think of all the money your sibling can save towards other things or spend how he chooses.
On the other hand you earned all that you own. There is a deep sense of pride in choosing which house you want to live in, picking out the furniture and yes even paying the mortgage. Certainly there is a greater sense of accomplishment. After all, no one handed you the keys to your home, you ran the numbers, arranged financing and managed to pay the bills and even reduce the mortgage term down to ten years.
So what do you think? Do you think it’s okay for parents to provide more financially for one sibling than they do for another? In this scenario do you think you would feel resentment towards your brother, ambivalence or perhaps pity for a sibling who willingly takes his parent’s handouts? Keep in mind that the second child is not in dire need of money. In fact he is now earning more than the first child was when he bought his first two homes.
Initially I was a bit turned off by the inequality of this idea, but as time passes I no longer have such strong feelings about it. I do not believe I would do the same as these parents, but my heart is warming to their reasons for doing it. If you have thoughts on the subject please leave a comment! I will write more on the subject but I don’t want to sway anyone’s thoughts more than I already have.
I HATE making decisions. I drag my feet for as long as possible and when I finally come to a conclusion I replay the choice I made over and over again. I’ve been trying to fix this particular part of my personality for years, but so far I’ve had little to no success.
My husband doesn’t have this problem at all. We are the exact opposite when it comes to making decisions. He thinks about the problem, rationalizes a solution and makes a move. This occurs in a very limited time frame. I on the other hand want to discuss each and every option, write a list of pros and cons, figure out short and long terms costs and ultimately drag the process out for weeks on end.
I believe the problem comes down to two simple facts. First, I second guess all of my decisions. I worry that I will have to live with the decision for the rest of my life and since I’ll never get a re-do I better make the best decision the first time around. In theory I realize this is absolutely ridiculous, but in practice I can’t get that type of logic out of my head.
Second, and simply put, I am too frugal. This is one of the reasons I stuck with an uncomfortable stroller for the first year of my son’s life.
My husband doesn’t suffer from either of these ailments. If he wants to purchase something expensive he takes a few minutes to consider his options and then buys it.
When my husband lost a $200+ pair of sunglasses at a basketball game a few weeks ago we had completely different reactions to the event. The idea of losing something so expensive sent me into a tailspin. I retraced our steps and searched the house and the car multiple times.
I was angry about the situation. Apparently my husband slipped the glasses into my diaper bag without telling me. While I was digging around for diapers or toys I may have inadvertently knocked them out of the bag. Since I didn’t know they were there in the first place I didn’t check to see if they were still inside the bag before we left.
As an aside I should mention that I have a strange quirk. I do not like carrying my husband’s belongings. Whenever he asks me to hold his diet coke, glasses, camera or any other item that is used solely for his purposes I get a little irked. I know that’s strange, but it is 100% true. Over the years we’ve had quite a few disagreements about holding onto our own belongings. I tend to carry only what I need and before my son was born I rarely carried a purse. I crammed everything, and I mean everything I could, into my pockets just so I wouldn’t be bogged down by an extra bag.
So when my husband’s sunglasses went missing I was angry about the situation. I felt guilty even though it wasn’t really my fault and I didn’t want to pay $200+ for new ones.
When I expressed these thoughts to my husband he gave me a big hug and simply said, “it’s alright.”
To my husband the decision to buy a new pair was an easy one. In the past ten years he’s owned two pairs of expensive sunglasses. (He lost the previous pair sailing.) He wore them every sunny day and sometimes on relatively cloudy days too. He got a lot of wear out of these before we lost them and he will get a lot of wear out of the next pair too.
As he hugged me he pointed out that $200 is a decent amount of money, but it’s also not the end of the world. The glasses were gone and there was nothing we could do to get them back. Crying over the fact that we had lost them was going to do us no good.
This year my new year’s resolution is to accept the things I cannot change. Clearly, as this incident demonstrates, I am failing miserably. I am blessed in so many ways and this tiny little incident really shouldn’t rattle me.
Spending money to replace something lost or stolen isn’t such a big deal. We aren’t strapped for cash and if we were we’d just replace the expensive sunglasses with a cheaper pair.
Okay lesson learned this time around, but I need to do a better job of keeping things in perspective the next time something happens.