It’s the best rendition I could do of the infamous Where Have All The Flowers Gone. Where have I been? Where is this blog going? What else would you like to know?
To be honest, I just have/had no more juice in me. Anne Shirley dramatically said it best when she woefully expressed that she was in the depths of despair. Here I am trying hard to teach others to leave within their incomes, live simply, save money here and there, and penny pinch, and I felt ready to throw it all away in the name of sheer exhaustion. You know, we all get that way.
I noticed that there is a “burn out” pattern flying across social media. There are blog posts, YouTube videos, and Facebook statuses with helpful tools and tips to help you get out of that slump and move forward. There seems to be one common thread through it all, and that this is all just a season. It will pass. What about for those of us that it won’t? Not everyone will ever reach the top of the totem financial pole. It isn’t about reaching a financial status of being a millionaire or even average Joe; for some of us, we will always be at the bottom. It isn’t about working harder, or smarter, or just getting through a rough patch. It’s about the priorities we have made as a family and about the limits that we have as a family. As long as my children never starve, go without clothes, or a roof over their head, we’ll probably live a financially hard life.
BUT the pros far outweigh the cons. We find ourselves so rich in many ways.
According to the US National Poverty Income level, our family’s income is lower than the poverty income level. That means that we make less than what they have deemed to be a poverty income. But I really dislike that word “poverty”. Its not because I am ashamed of the word but more so because the dictionary defines poverty as “the state of being extremely poor”. Maybe so in terms of monetary wealth but even then, my kids have never known true hunger. They know the richness of a well-stocked library and the value of the plastic library card. They use their imagination every day with sticks and pine cones, duck tape and YouTube. They have always had clean clothes, sometimes even name brand clothing. We may not go out to eat every weekend but they love watching Daddy BBQ over charcoal. We may never go on annual vacations or even see Disney Land (not that its on the top of my bucket list) but they know the treat of chasing sunsets and catching lizards in the desert. I may not be able to purchase the latest and greatest toy/gadget or electronic, but they are slowly, very slowly, learning the value of a dollar. It’s a fullness of life that I cannot regret, but I do get burned out once in a while. It would be nice to say, “I’m taking this week off of cooking and cleaning! Hire it all out!” But that is not possible.
It was/is important for me to realize that this will be a way of life, but that is ok. All over the internet you see this artsy inspiration work with the words, “choose joy” and while we love it so much, only a few of us will work hard to live by those words. Choose joy could mean so many different things to different people but what I see it as, “whatever situation I am in, therewith to be content”– choosing joy. It may bring a bit of joy to have a family vacation on the beach but the reality afterwards of having to pay off a bill, suddenly steals all that joy and memories we made. Instead, I will choose joy in being at home and finding and choosing to spend time with my family by having a camp-out right on our own front yard.
So, what do I do when I am burned out and tired? I look at things realistically. I am that kind of person. I go over the budget and make sure that there isn’t something that needs tweaking. Often times burn-out can happen when you are trying to make a budgeted amount work when it can no longer work and needs updating. So instead of stressing and pushing hard at it, maybe you can adjust something else in your budget and move that amount over to the area you are stressing on.
I will splurge and buy a $5 cup of coffee at Starbucks. I know, waste of money. But I wasted $5 instead of $200 on items I don’t need and can’t store and I can usually find $5 in the envelope.
I will declutter. Sound weird? It probably is very weird. But decluttering gives me something I can control. I will sell the items we no longer need. I feel rich again. And then I move on.
It may be a time of harvesting or planting for you. Are times tight? You are probably planting for the future right now. The outcome isn’t so clear but the work is hard and you are pushing hard for what is to come. Are you harvesting right now? There is room in the budget for splurging. Summer is coming and trip planning is in full force. You can go to the store and make a purchase without having to worry about your card being declined or the cash envelope being empty.
Whatever you do, be wise.
“Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.” – Benjamin Franklin