Friday, October 28, 2011

Rich in Life

Dorothy Parker once said, "I don't know much about being a millionaire, but I'll bet I'd be darling at it." I know I could be pretty darling at it myself, but despite being a member of the office lotto pool, a million dollars has yet to drop in my lap. So what's a girl to do?

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about money. Not in the "Oh gosh, how will we keep a roof over our house and the kids fed" kind of way, but just in general. Money is constantly in the news, especially lately with the whole Greek debt situation and all the conflicting messages out there about the economy. Some say the economy is slowly growing, others say we're heading for another recession, while some say we are still in the same recession as 3 years ago. I know people who are struggling with financial woes and I know others who are spending like darling millionaires. Taxes, retirement savings, "come bank with us, you're richer than you think", union wage rumblings, and deficits are all issues I am bombarded with on a daily basis. It's enough to make anyone crazy. 

Over the past year or so, I've been through a lot and through some of the processes, I am thankful to say I seem to have had the jadedness wiped out of my eyes and I am seeing my world around me a lot clearer than I used to. With this has come clarity about what's important to me and how I approach money and respond to the constant barrage of money-related messages.

I've realized that everything I need is already in place or is within my reach if I make the effort to go after it. I've also realized that when you really look at life, it all boils down to having your friends, your family, and your health. And your faith. Whether you're spiritual or not, you have to have faith in something. I have all of these things and I am darling rich with the goodness of all of them. I choose to make these things my priorities in life, and I spend my time and money in support of them.

I also make a conscious effort to do things that make me, my family, and my friends happy. Nothing extravagant like a blow your brains out party on a yacht in the Mediterranean, but simple, relatively inexpensive things or taking the time to do something special for someone or for myself.  For example, this week I planted close to 100 spring bulbs in our gardens. It was a minimal financial commitment and a moderate time commitment for the purpose of making myself and others smile in the spring. As I planted each bulb, I thought about how beautiful the tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils will look and how not only will I smile when I see them, but my neighbours will enjoy them. A major reason to do this was so the kids who wait by our house for the school bus will have something pretty to look at in the spring. I think the soft yellow, baby pink, deep purple, creamy white, and sky blue flowers will make those kids smile at the fresh growth of spring.

Planting these bulbs became for me a ritualistic and symbolic experience. As I tenderly placed the bulbs in the ground, I hoped the squirrels wouldn't steal them and I wished each bulb a good winter and good luck. I did the work, and now I just have to have faith that in the spring, the flowers will come up as my reward. Planting the bulbs was an act of faith as well as an exercise in digging in the dirt.

So while I'm not a millionaire, I am darling rich in the knowledge that I am taking care of the priorities in my life. And simple acts of fun and faith keep me going until that lotto win does eventually come in.

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