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Sunday, January 19, 2014

What's Your Magic Number?

We can't wait until everything is OK- with us or with the rest of the world- to feel thankful, or we will never experience it at all... so we must catch and kiss our joy as it flies by, even in the midst of sorrow or suffering.
-M.J. Ryan (excerpt from Attitudes of Gratitude)
I had an off day yesterday. I went to coffee in the morning with a friend. It was quite lovely. (except for the many trips to the restroom with my almost 2 year old) I honestly cannot remember the last time I sat down in a coffee shop and conversed with someone. But I'm afraid that the lavish experience opened up a scary door. I spent much of the day yesterday remembering how things used to be; remembering when my husband and I dined out often, the countless weekends we spent in movie theaters, traveling every year during our anniversary, trips to the mall to buy nice clothing, when I purchased whatever groceries I wanted... there was no budget to follow. Oh, the memories. Oh, the joyous times! Yesterday I started craving the days of old: the days of credit card frivolousness. I really don't do that anymore so it was a yucky day. Hopefully I'm over it now.

I kept thinking yesterday, "I can't wait until..." Like someday I'll be better off. Someday we'll be able to spend frivolously. Someday I'll be able to make crazy purchases and engorge myself on expensive food again. Someday!!! But, during the midst of this growing up and paying off debt and living life journey I am intent on today meaning something. I want today to be good enough. I think it's important to dream. I think it's imperative that although our dreams evolve and change we never lose them or let them die altogether. But today is what it is. Today is to be lived. Today is to be grand. Today we need to catch the joy that comes our way and revel in it. It's far to easy to miss the little joys that really make life what it is. I don't want to spend today thinking, "oh, someday..." That's a waste.
Money truly has very little to do with our happiness. But most of us are convinced that money can indeed buy happiness. [a study that asked people how much money they thought they needed to be happy had revealing results] Everyone, no matter what they made, thought they needed more. People who made $20,000 thought $30,000 would do it; folks at $45,000 were convinced that $65,000 was the magic number, people at $100,000 were sure $200,000 was it. The only thing that changed was that as people's income grew their magic number grew exponentially.
-excerpt From Attitudes of Gratitude
So today, although there may not be remarkable adventures to be had or thousands of dollars to be thrown to the wind I will be happy because I am alive, surrounded by loved ones and have a messy home to clean. This is enough. I am blessed.

6 comments:

  1. There is no magic number, I can certainly tell you that. My husband & I make more money than I ever dreamed of, but it's insane to live here. Like, completely & totally insane. I think we make smart choices with our money, and keep everything but housing down to a reasonable budget, but we try to make our money count.

    Yesterday we had a similar day. We took the kids to the aquarium, out to a nice lunch, & then picked up Chipotle on our way home (it was a long drive both ways). I felt guilty this morning, and we have zero debt, save for retirement, etc. I list small things on eBay, take surveys, etc.

    Frugality is a mindset, & I don't think it ever goes away, regardless of how much you make.

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    1. I think I have to expand on this as say that "fiscal responsibility" is a mindset. More people than not don't ever stubble upon it. I think I'm actually growing into it and I'm quite excited. You have it. You're there. That's awesome.

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  2. I have days like those - more often than I care to admit. Usually, it is followed by a gracious heart at the realization of what we have.

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    1. I think realizing how much you already have, being grateful for it, and humbled is the only way to get out of that funk of, "what if... oh I want... woah is me." Thankfulness is a blessing in itself.

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  3. I heard that no matter how much we have, we'll always want 30 percent more. That that's a universal magic number.
    So one way to deal with this perception is to definitely compare downward as you are doing, and think, hey, someone who has 30 percent less than me would be SO thrilled with what I have right now.

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    1. You're SO right. I think it's just human nature to want "more." But if we can somehow convince ourselves that we already have more then we'll be WAY ahead of the game. "I have more than I need already."

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