About Me

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Four years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lady in Waiting

I sure do spend a lot of my life waiting for one thing and another. Though I must say that the things I wait for, these days, are better or saner and certainly more satisfying than the things I waited for when I was younger.

I used to wait for Prince Charming to come along and sweep me off my feet and make my life perfect. Took me a long, long time to outgrow that phase.

And a dozen or so years ago I learned that getting skinny, or relatively skinny, did not necessarily make me happy. I think that on a typical day I am far happier than I was ten years ago, factoring that second divorce out of the equation. And I am certainly not skinny.

I used to think that if I had a whole pile of money, that would make me happy, or at least I would feel safe. And I remember when the balance in my checkbook dipped below $10,000 as life and family necessities and splurges I thought I deserved after 20 years of deprivation chipped away at my inheritance, and there was this brief moment of what the h--- am I gonna do? panic until I shook my head and reminded myself that for most of my adult life I was happy if my checking account was in the black, and I still had more money than I had [up to that point] earned in a year, so just knock it off, woman!

Large infusions of money into what I laughingly call my budget, tend to make me nervous. I don’t mean the paycheck that is a little bit bigger than the other one, each month. I mean tax refunds and cash bonuses from work. Last year I bought the lovely rattan chairs, my first brand-new chairs ever, and they still make me grin when I notice them. I almost never sit in them, because I almost never sit in my kitchen, but BestFriend sits there and talks to me if I do dishes when she’s here.

I am trying to have a sane, adult relationship with money. I trade great chunks of my life for those credits that magically appear in my account every other Friday. This is one of those Fridays, and I started this post last night, halfway through You’ve Got Mail, because I was suddenly ready to think and write about something, and I had been fighting sleep all day, and I feel as if I am fighting sleep in my private life, or in a spiritual sense.

In the next couple of years or so, barring more surprise towing fees, I should be out of debt. Lorelai will be paid for, the line of credit will be paid off, and all that money can build up my emergency fund or make the world better for somebody who is where I used to be. This is a good thing.

I find myself concerned that as my budget continues to improve, I will want to unreasonably improve my standard of living rather than invest frugally or bestow providently. One of the things in the Bible that I absolutely believe, all the way down into my bones, is that prosperity all too often leads to pride, and unrighteousness, and misery all around. [The Book of Mormon also reinforces this; we discuss the Nephite pride cycle often in Sunday School class. I also understand that poverty does not necessarily breed humility, and that it is just as bad to be a covetous poor person as it is to be a tightfisted rich one.]

So, if I want to be a kind, thoughtful, generous solvent person, I need to begin while I am still chewing my way up out of debt, when it is at least a minor sacrifice to give. [It is the but-I-want-it twinges of the natural man/woman, overcome, that make giving a matter of consecration.]

When my raise hits next payday, some of it will be absorbed by withholding. Some of it will go to a slightly larger payment on my line of credit. Some of it will go into my emergency fund. And some of it must go toward the blessing of others. I need to be more sensible about this than I have in the past. I need to do it in an orderly, sustainable fashion.

But right now I need to go hop in Brother Sushi’s truck and go be a carnivore.

To be continued...

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