Today I want to talk about something I have been struggling with. It’s called blooming where you’re planted.
The reality that I’m having to face is that Life can be frustrating. In fact, life is frustrating more often than not. Maybe it’s life stuff I have no control over – like my car breaking down with no cell service, or a boss that is hindering a promotion. Some circumstances in life I cannot control, no matter how hard I try.
Maybe the frustration comes from forgetfulness – like forgetting to pick the kids of up from daycare.
Or your school aged child “forgetting” to tell you about a science project due the next day. Or even forgetting to take the trash out – and it smelling up the garage. (Or forgetting to put money away every month for auto insurance, like I did)
Maybe the frustration comes from impatience. When you’re a teenager wanting to move out of your parent’s house, get a job, start a family. Or when you really want to be out of debt NOW. Impatience never goes away. There will always be something bigger and better.
This translates in to finances, and specifically, our journey to first: get out of debt, and second: retire by 40. More often than not, our finances are a huge source of frustration. Mostly it’s because we have gotten ourselves into an untenable position. While we would love to blame others, the reality is that The Big Guy and I’s mistakes are our own, and now we have to pay the piper.
We have hit a couple of milestones. Earlier this year, we paid off all of our credit card debt! it wasn’t our largest amount of debt, by a long shot, but it was wonderful to not be racking up interest charges every month. We also sold one of our cars (and reduce our debt by more than $11,000 in a single day).
But even with that milestones, we still have six figures of debt. We have a long road ahead of us, that will last just slightly less than 3 years. It’s already so tough, knowing that we won’t hit another milestone until Christmas, but it’s that light at the end of the tunnel that keeps us going.
If everyone could pay off their debt in a day, don’t you think they would do so?
Of course they would!
But, seeing as the average american family has 5 figures of credit card debt alone, they’re looking at one to two years just to pay off their credit cards! What about their cars, students loans, and houses? Are they even saving for retirement? Probably not.
If it was easy, everyone would be doing it!
In the end, it’s the degree of difficulty that makes things worth doing. And that’s why we’re getting out of debt and striving to be retired by 40. Because it’s hard. Because almost no one else is doing it. Because it will be SO worth it!
Blooming Where You’re Planted is taking your situation and making the best of it. It’s realizing that you cannot change all of your circumstances. But the circumstances you can change, you’ll be darned if you don’t make the best of them.
Blooming Where You’re Planted is a 3-part process, strangely reminiscent of the Serenity Prayer:
Step 1: Assess your current situation.
Step 2: Change What you Can.
Step 3: Deal with it.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace
Regardless of whether or not you have faith in a higher power, this should ring true. Right now I am really struggling with knowing that I am doing everything I can, and accepting the things that I cannot change.
I struggle with contentment every single day. There are some things, like our income, that I believe we can change, and I’m working on it, but it takes time. There are other things, like our debt – specifically our car payment – that I can do nothing about right now. I cannot change this, so I have to accept it.
Contentment is kind of like patience. You will never be perfectly patient, because some stupid idiot is going to make you crazy at some point in your life. The same goes for contentment. At some point, you are going to wish your situation was better, or that you were able to take awesome vacations. Let’s face it, there’s always going to be something bigger and better. Discontentment rears it’s ugly head and suddenly you’re unhappy. Maybe it will spur you to take action, or maybe there will be nothing you can do about it.
When that happens, let it go. Don’t beat yourself up because you’re stuck. Focus on what makes you happy – be it your health, you children’s smiles, or cuddling with your girl or guy!
When you take the focus off what you cannot change and put it onto what you can, life gets a whole lot better.
Because for the moment, you’re content.
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