If You Don’t Like Where Things Are Today…
The older I get, the more I realize life is full of seasons. Many wise people who have gone before me tell me to wait out the tough times as a new season is coming. Conversely, that would mean we need to be fully present in the good times as a new season is just around the bend.
Everything Has Its Time
To everything, there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.
Above is one of my favorite passages that Solomon wrote in the Bible. I think the key is to recognize what season we are in and embrace it rather than fight against it.
The same is true of our financial seasons.
I have been reflecting back on the seasons of my life and how they’ve chiseled me into the woman I am today…
The Importance of Family
I have a lot of loving family members.
Sure there was some dysfunction in our family. I mean who doesn’t have dysfunction??
And sure I grew up with some unwarranted extreme insecurities that I’ve eventually worked through in my 30’s and 40’s (it’s never too late).
However, I recognize I have a huge support network in my family. I know I can call my brothers, parents, cousins, aunts & uncles at any time and have someone to confide in. And I’d do the same for any of them.
My immediate family taught me the value of money even though I didn’t catch on until many years later. Hey, what can I say I am a late bloomer!
Don’t worry, I’m making up for lost time now!
My parents lead by example by:
- Living within their means
- Paying off their credit cards in full each and every month
- Paying cash for their cars
- Saving and investing in our education
- Saving and investing for their future
I’ve found myself going back to the values which were instilled in me growing up.
The Importance of Extracurriculars
I grew up swimming. I think I was like 5 when I first joined the neighborhood swim team. Then it got more serious and I joined a swim club. I was good. Moreover, I was dedicated but eventually, I quit.
I possess exceptional discipline today and I imagine it has something to do with the discipline I developed from swimming. Initially, when I started swimming it involved one-hour practices each morning during the summer when all other kids were sleeping in.
As I got more serious and joined a swim club it involved two-hour practices every day after school and meets on the weekend. I was just starting to get into the two practice days (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) when I decided to quit.
Regardless, I developed some fine characteristics from the years I swam competitively:
- Long-suffering (oh, wait that is the same as perseverance. I’m leaving it in ‘cus I developed a lot of it.) 😉
I will attribute some of my financial successes to these characteristics developed in my formative years for sure!
The Importance of Finishing What You Start
I hate to say it, but I didn’t really apply myself in high school. I had a lot of fun, though.
If you know my story, you know I got sober in my 30’s. Yep, that does mean I was the party kid in high school; however, I did finish. I was able to skate by with B’s and C’s. Just imagine what I could have done if I applied myself.
All was not lost on me as I did apply myself in one subject and that was mathematics which leads me to a great little story…
In eighth grade, I had a mathematics teacher, Mr. Lamp, who was also my basketball coach. He took a liking to me and pushed me.
Unfortunately, growing up my relationship with my Father was strained. I didn’t know it then, but I craved a father figure. Mr. Lamp was a father figure to me for one year.
In Mr. Lamp’s eighth-grade mathematics class, I fell in love. Not with Mr. Lamp, you crazy, with mathematics!
I found great comfort in solving problems and getting to the answer. There was no gray area; it was either right or wrong. Additionally, I loved that I could be creative with the tools given as long as I followed the rules. That last sentence is pretty amazing for a rebellious kid, huh? See how you teachers can affect your students??
Furthermore, I always did my math homework in high school. My Math classes were the only ones I applied myself and excelled in. Funny that I now run a personal finance blog, eh?
Coming Full Circle
Fast forward several years, and I decided to pursue a master’s degree in teaching curriculum (specializing in math education). I was 32 when I recognized my calling to be a teacher. I knew exactly what I would teach – my first love, math!
Sadly, I had an unreconciled past, and shortly after this picture was taken I walked away from a promising career in education. I was caught up in addiction/alcoholism and couldn’t, in good conscience, teach and feed my addiction.
Instead, I became a Wine Sommelier. Yeah, you can laugh at that one! It is the perfect career for an alcoholic.
Anywho, the good news is I hit a bottom and got sober. I reconciled my past and even went back to teaching for a couple of years.
I am not currently teaching per se but I have a fulfilling career managing accounts for an awesome broker and third-party administrator. Additionally, I get to teach the employees of our clients about their benefits.
Moreover, I teach women in recovery and women who want to gain control of their finances. It’s in my blood. I cannot stop!
The process I underwent for my undergrad degree is a story for another day but let’s just say all three degrees involved some serious follow through.
When I have a goal, I don’t let go of it. That’s come in handy when paying off debt and certainly now with the brazen goal of achieving financial independence.
The Importance of Reflection
I just love this picture of me as a child petting some lambs. To me, it’s pure sweet innocence.
Take the time to reflect on your life, where you came from, who you are, what you value, and where you are going.
In recovery, there is a lot of reflection on your past. I wasn’t just satisfied with getting sober; I wanted to get to the root of why I fell into addiction.
Treat the symptom and you’ll be treating it for life. Treat the cause and the symptoms will cease.
In addition to drinking and drugging, my past spending habits were just another way to fill the void. I highly recommend Cait Flander’s book, The Year of Less, if you want to overhaul your spending habits.
As Cait discovered, when you stop filling the empty space with stuff, you’re forced to look at the man in the mirror and find a new life.
Naturally, with this kind of intentionality, you’ll gain control of your financial life.
You know it’s not really about the money but I’m amazed that as my life has evolved so has my financial peace.
It’s no coincidence, that the healthier I get, the wealthier I get. These are the leftovers I’ve talked about before. Who we are spills out into all other aspects of our lives.
So how have the seasons of your life shaped you into the person you are today?