There are Two Ways to be Rich

I bought this print years ago and had it tucked away in a drawer – waiting for the day I could afford to have it framed. Professional framing is not something that is in my budget right now but oh how nice it would be. In the time since passed it has lost some of its aesthetic appeal (so many typefaces!) but the message speaks more to me now than it did years ago. 

I decided, after a couple of weeks of moping in the lead up to pay day (coupled with a rather fat bill from the US taxman…grrrr), that I needed an attitude adjustment. Our financial situation is unlikely to drastically change in the near future and so my attitude towards it must. Rich is a relative term and I can’t help but feel equal parts frustrated and humiliated when I lament our low bank balances while still able to fill our fridge, drive our car and pay our bills. And so herein lies the need for a change of perspective.

There are two ways to be rich: earn more or want less. A new house motto. 

An entrepreneurial nature coupled with a fondness of babies lead to me a lucrative babysitting career early on. Chasing toddlers and reading bedtime stories fuelled my teenage spending habits. It afforded me new outfits, foreign adventures, college trips and much more in between. I saved and budgeted where needs be – but I had no true expenses beyond clothing myself. Almost all of my spending was discretionary now that I think about it. 

Thankfully those years of earning and saving and spending within my means prepared me for the sudden thrust into the world of full on adult responsibility. But being prepared doesn’t mean its all fun and games. I wander aimlessly through aisles, running my fingers through racks of soft cottons and linens. I eye up cute baby shoes and squish wooly cardigans – wishing I could just take it to the till without a second thought or hit that ‘purchase’ button without hesitation. Part of the frustration lies in that I can’t wear anything I want to. I am so frustrated with this body for doing its job so well. I am tired and grumpy and swollen and so unbelievably ready for it to be over. I want to lie on my front and sleep without needing to pee every ninety minutes. 

And then I look into my fridge full of food, my freezer of meals prepared and tucked away, I feel the warmth of the room when I walk in from work and I relish in the heat of the shower as it hits my skin at a pressure more desirable than most and I know that I have more than enough. My baby kicks and wriggles and jives inside me and I know that I am fortunate. I don’t have to climb into a boat and risk my life because my home has become unbearably dangerous. I don’t have to starve or worry about where my next meal will come from. I have clean clothes, a dishwasher, a place to sleep and a person to figure out all this adult shit alongside. 

The extraneous stuff can wait. I will earn and grow and achieve more than I know possible at this point in time. I will one day sleep on my stomach again. It will be worth it.

Learning to want less is not about being mean or cheap or a martyr. It’s simply a shift in focus, a minor attitude adjustment and a leaning towards creativity in place of consumerism. I think for the most part I am up for the challenge.