Monday, December 05, 2011
Burdened or Challenged?
I must confess that I'm absolutely thriving on trying to save us money during this season of unemployment. It's like I was made for this.
I mean, during our early years of marriage I also thrived on pinching pennies. Oh the creativity of it all! The couponing, the sewing of clothes, the crocheting of blankets and the studying of library books dealing with how to make the most of what little you have. I remember those days now with many smiles.
But when we moved to Nevada? Suddenly we had more money than we needed and you know? I felt uncomfortable. I won't try to psychoanalyze myself all these years later, but I recall that as being the saddest time of my life, a couple years of terrible depression. Which, ok, didn't solely stem from the abundance of money, but from other things.
And yet during those years when we had more than enough money, I did more home sewing than ever and used more coupons and money-saving hints than ever, too. I told dear friends that I didn't want the extra money--I missed the feeling of being creatively challenged, instead.
Yeah, I'm one weird puppy. I know.
Then we moved to New York and Tom took a pay-cut to do so. Yay! So we returned to actually needing my money-saving skills and I was happy again (and ok, part of that happiness stemmed from having escaped the dreadful (to me) Nevada desert. I can't deny that.). But still, I felt back in my element, back to the real me, back to doing what I was called to do--being a wife and mom who enjoyed the challenge and creativity of staying within a tight budget. And probably just feeling vital and needed again was part of it, as well.
Years later, times got easier, we had enough money for whatever we needed and I relaxed my penny-pinching reins again, though never 100%. Then August of 2010 rolled around, Tom lost his job and ok, the first two days afterward I panicked! Oh, the shock of it all.
But after that? With a steely new determination I returned to my rusty ol' penny-pinching, money-saving ways. The couponing, buying clothes at thrift shops and trying never to pay full price for anything. The putting on an extra sweater instead of turning up the heat, the making of my own household cleaners and hanging laundry on clothes racks/lines to dry. The reusing grocery bags, cardboard from cereal boxes, rubber bands from produce and cotton from vitamin bottles. The conscientious buying of necessities rather than an unconscious grabbing of pretty trinkets off shelves or yard sale tables.
And it all just feels so darn right. Like slipping into a custom-made pretty dress after you've lost ten pounds.
It all feels like a challenge, but not a burden. And may my attitude never change about this whole thing--for if it does--the fun will all blow away.
Pretty much? Our attitude changes everything. More than what happens to us, it's how we view our circumstances that determines our feelings about them... and Life.