Monday, December 15, 2008

Those stupid little things called learning moments...

I always look at the events, both large and small, that trickle in and out of my life as learning moments. When things happen repeatedly, I wonder what I am supposed to learn and why I am not learning? Because I really want these annoying events to stop happening. I know they can't...they won't because life is that way. Life happens. Crap happens. So, right now I am trying to figure out what I am supposed to learn from the latest. Now, this latest has crept into my life then left for a while and has now crept back with full force! I blame the economy! Actually, I really don't blame the economy.


I have always had issues with money. I used to be very frugal with money. VERY frugal! I am not as bad as I used to be but, I'm still bad. Now, I say bad because I let things have a greater value on them because I spent money on them. Does that make sense? What I mean is that if I need a coat and I buy a coat then that coat means a lot to me. I hold onto the coat. I try to take care of the coat. I try not to lose the coat. I wear the coat as long as I can. I don't want the coat ruined. I don't like to loan the coat because others don't care that I spent money on the coat like I do. If said coat is ruined or disappears...I freak out! So, my latest is with my children and their items. I am responsible to purchase all their belongings. I purchase the socks, underwear, pants, long sleeve and short sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, swim suits, church suits, church shirts, church pants, church shoes, regular shoes, flip flops, boots, coats, hoodies, hats, gloves, scarves, soccer cleats, sport pants for soccer, etc. Now, I list all these things not because I think you all don't know what all this is about because we all have to do that. But it's because I am responsible for these things alone...not someone else but ME. Okay, so you know what I mean now? Well...I have ALWAYS been the one to gather everything up and make sure "so and so" has this and "so and so" has that before we leave anywhere. And I can't be that person. I have to leave it up to children and someone else to be responsible for all these items (that I paid money for, by the way, did I mention that?) to make sure they make it back home! So, let's just say that responsibility for things is not a strong suit for anyone in this dilemma. That leaves me upset, frustrated, and angry. So frustrated that I let someone know how mad I am. It doesn't matter. Nothing changes. So, I have been going over and over this in my head and have come to the conclusion that I HAVE to realize that these are just THINGS and that they don't matter and are replaceable. Right? You're all telling me this...I know...I get it...I do! heart says let it go and my head says you can't let it go. These aren't just things. These are items of necessity. Some of them are necessary to live! I mean socks, underwear, a coat! And, they aren't replaceable! It is not feasible for me to constantly replace these items for three children! It's just not!

I have been on both sides of the financial spectrum. I have avoided total poverty and lived in "next-to" poverty (during school and residency - awful!) and while never being wealthy I have enjoyed "sufficient for our needs" (minus the house needs). I know what it's like to not make ends meet. To not be able to purchase anything except food and bare necessities. To not even think about purchasing something as minute as a bottle of fingernail polish. To not purchase any makeup (we're talking covergirl here) and use your sister's hand-me-down make-up or any other items people gave to you. To watch your children share a slice of pizza while you and your husband look at each other starving and wondering what in the crap are we going to do? To depend on family to provide your children with Christmas and birthday presents. For spouses not to buy any gifts for each other (not a good idea btw). To not be able to afford vitamins or gym memberships. To not have health insurance. To not take care of yourself because you can't afford to. To basically look like crap and feel like crap!

Then...I know what it's like to make ends meet. To be able to pay the bills every month and not worry that there isn't enough money. To not have to choose between food and clothes and gas because there is money for all of it. To go out to eat at a restaurant. To shop at Costco and not have to put items back on the shelf. To put a full tank of gas in your car. To take a vacation. To buy a gym membership and do things to take care of yourself. To buy fingernail polish AND remover AND cuticle cream AND to buy your own make-up!

So, somewhere I have to learn to let go of the THINGS and let go of my anger in having to replace what feels like EVERYTHING!

Seriously...can't someone else just learn to be more responsible? Is that really too much to ask?



Joby, Julie, and Cru said...

The same learning moments usually rear there annoying head frequently in my life. I just ignore them and hope they go away. Feast or famine. That too is the continuous cycle of my life. I find it much more invigorating then budgeting and putting money into savings. Wheres the fun in that! Freely spending in feast times and uncovering creativity you didn't know you had in famine times keeps life interesting.

Terry said...

I can totally relate to your stress about "stuff". We bought my older boys expensive Columbia coats while we were in residency. I thought it would be nice to keep them warm during the South Dakota winters. I tell ya, the second they walked out the door with those coats to elementary school, which was notorious for having things stolen right out of the lockers, I almost had a panic attack.

Everyday when they came home I would check to see they had their coats. One time Alex misplaced his ( in the basement luckily ), I called the teacher almost crying. I vowed I would never buy expensive clothing for my younger kids again. It was not worth the stress. Now they are teenagers, they are still so careless with their stuff, that the same rule applies. The only way they take care of it is if they spend their own money on the things they really want.

Good luck getting over the stuff issue, that seems to be part of the " natural man " either we covet it or protect it.