Looking Up From The Bottom Line

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Apologies for any extended internet absences as I pull my jaw off the ground and my heart back into its proper place.  Weirdly, blogging gives me a sense of routine, so I really should do it more often.  That being said:

I’m amazed at those of my friends who have no interest in their personal finances.  They, in turn, are amazed at my obsessive interest in such things.  I didn’t realize I was obsessed with such things until somewhat recently.  I thought all people were as concerned as I was.  When money topics arise, things sometimes get a pinch uncomfortable.  Not overly so, but palpably so.  I think these friends consider me a money grubbing freak, while I regard them as cash libertines living one small disaster away from ruin (graphic imagery usually goes along with this notion in my own head).  It usually happens when they start talking about charging their trip to Europe on a credit card or completely renovating parts of an already overpriced house (when I know their mortgage payment is already way too high).  Or when I demurred about buying a bike later because I want to be sure of my summer funding first.  We usually just eyeball each other warily and change the subject LOL.

One thing I think they might learn from me is how to avoid those sorts of financial pitfalls that they end up bitching about later.  It’s hard to bite one’s tongue when six months after bragging about their renovations, new furniture and expensive trip taken over a university break (charged) they’re complaining about their salaries and the amount they need to live on and pay off their debt.  Sure, go ahead and look at me like i’m a conspiracy freak just because I happen to mention a pantry.  Just don’t kvetch to me later that you shouldn’t have eaten out so many times last month.

But on the other hand, one thing I could learn from them is how to define life in ways other than the bottom line.  The fiscal sunglasses are one of the first lenses I pick up and put on when I want to think about my life.  And in many ways that’s not a bad thing.  There are things I’d like to do and those things either require money or they require me to not have too many life costs.  Having control of the one leads to freedom to do other things.  But there are other ways of having a sustainable life that have nothing to do with funds.

And that is what those of my friends who don’t necessarily obsess with finances are teaching me right now.  Interestingly, when my bottom line improved a little, I looked up and it was as if that part of the world was OK for once.  That led to seeing all these other interests that had been neglected for a long time — health, personal relationships, etc.  It’s like a brave new world out there!  It also causes me to re-evaluate my choices.  Instead of taking some Craigslist gigs that would take me out of the house many nights and weekends just to make an extra buck to meet my goals, I held my breath and crossed my fingers that something more life appropriate would show up later.  I have a young teenage son.  The last thing I need is to cut my time with him by 20 – 30 hours per week, especially in the evenings and during the weekend!  Such a thought would be automatic to my non-money-sunglasses wearing friends.  It was a veritable revelation to me.

Currently, while my little heart is broken and I’d like it mended, I think the new thing on the horizon should be my health.  Since I’m not traveling anywhere glamorous this summer, and my biggest plans include vrooming around on the Honda and doing some fishing, I’ll have lots of time to devote to healthy practices.  I FEEL GUILTY ABOUT THIS!  What on earth for?!  I feel like it’s taking time away from money I could be making.  That I could be figuring out how to scrounge up more dollars for debt pay offs, for retirement and for entertainment.  Talk about an unbalanced perspective!

I’m trying to come to terms with putting on the HealthyPants Sunglasses this summer, but my Money Sunglasses are clinging to my face like they’re stuck on with superglue!  Clearly, there is more to life than the bottom line.  But giving oneself permission to go there…well, that’s another matter.

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