Subtitle: Not a diet
This has been a tumultuous year (or two) in our family. Loss. Pain. Change. Fear. Panic. Anxiety. Surgery, job loss, death, sweet soul-mate pet losses, friend loss, financial insecurity, personal insecurity, moving out of our home, living week to week, working two jobs, missing my family, start-up sorrows, sleep deprivation…and now, just for fun, lets add mice (of which my partner has the greatest of phobias) in our new humble abode…okay. Bring it on…this is life and we all have our proverbial hand of cards to play.
It’s been messy. It’s been tearful. Well ‘F’ that—we’ve sobbed enough tears this past year; but not enough that they don’t keep flowing. It’s been– the kind of year where you can truly recognize what family means and who your friends are.
Through all of this, there must be some lesson that can help me to redefine what success and failure actually mean. This requires lowering the volume on the often loud, and thunderous narrative that takes place in my head. You know that voice…I am trying with all of my might, wit and Mom-superpowers to fully grasp that feeling like a failure and failing might actually be two different things.
As a family, we’ve had to change a lot about how we live each day and exist in today’s ‘ca-chinging,’ credit card culture. Frugality does not come easy for all. So very hard to do when you have two adorable, loveable and well deserving girls (insert that failure feeling here). So hard to do when it hasn’t always been the way we’ve done our life. When prior salaries have had different places to insert a comma.
Enter the new world of our frugal-foursome, wear we live lean, lean on, and lean in.
- Slash the budget and stop the hemorrhage. This requires tremendous discipline in thought and outcome (and the realization that we are still bleeding)
- Cut the cord—goodbye Comcast, hello Netflix
- Control has to win over convenience, which is really just a luxurious money suck—Eat home, brown bag lunches, snacks and beverages, avoid quaint coffee culture
- Sell the house—downsize, move, rent
- Kill the guilt that fuels spending and brings on a different kind of guilt—make memories, give experiences, learn to live well with less. Discover the joy, contentment and happiness in ourselves and with each other
- Seek ways to continually course correct our new ‘lean awakening’, leaving senseless squabbles behind
- Share the burden of stresses that I hold so deep and internal
- Recognize that ‘thrift maven’ may come in stages for those of us that are more ‘spendy’ and ergo, less frugal
- Control what I can control
- Always lead by example
- Keep my ‘cup half full attitude,’ even when I question the what exactly is in the cup
- Work hard and make the time to play hard—it’s just as important
- Set goals together for a purpose, because some may just find the simple act of saving for savings sake boring
Are we better? Are we fixed? No. Are we always on the same page? No. But we are wiser. And with that wisdom, there have been moments, sweet joyous moments of pure bliss.
There’s no going back. Yes, we would like some more financial stability. Yes, we would like less pain, and most certainly (and quickly!) an absence of vermin. But for now, we are where we are and we are constantly becoming who we will be. We are a beautiful work in progress.
We know together that one cannot buy good parenting or good partnering. Frugality and discretion won’t change our love for one another as we walk the path less purchased. We will definitely stop along the way to welcome the happiness in the small moments as they appear.
More to come on this, I am certain.
Out, damned mice.