Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
October is my birthday month and let me tell you I use it as an excuse to over-indulge myself. I am at an age now where I celebrate all month. My life has never been easy or financially secure, but I have a decent job now where I can finally afford a tiny bit of leeway. I think I deserve to treat myself well after working so hard to take care of other people all year for so many years.
I don’t go out and blow my budget, charging up a bunch of stuff. Believe me I am tempted when I think about buying a new bed, considering my mattress is more than 16 years old. But I have property taxes to pay in November so I can’t blow the budget in October. I look forward to special things like lunch and dinners out with family and friends. I think about scheduling a leg wax, then do it myself and have my teeth taken care of instead. I treat myself to a couple of coffee-shop coffees from a gift card I’ve been hoarding. I stock up on my favorite shampoo, hair conditioners, hand-made all natural organic deodorant, anti-chlorine body wash, after swim moisturizers, essential oils, and maybe a new lip gloss if I can find one I like. I buy a new pair of cozy slippers to replace the tatters I’m wearing from last year’s birthday. Yeah, you try wearing something 365 days a year, indoors and out, and see if you don’t need a new pair next year. Maybe I’m just rough on slippers.
I don’t need much these days and what I do need are big ticket items which require serious budgeting for like the bed, a second car, or hard-wood flooring. So I focus on little things to make me happy.
One of the little things that makes me happy is giving away money. I know, right? You know I don’t make much, support a family of three, and every month live paycheck to paycheck, though these days I have a small retirement account I’m building dollar by dollar every paycheck. So why would I give away money?
It makes me feel really good. I mean REALLY GOOD. To know I can make a small donation, I can give away my precious hard-earned money, and it might help make a small difference in somebody else’s life. I pay other people’s library fines, chosen sort of randomly but with a secret agenda. When I buy my coffees I pay one for the person behind me. I donate to my alma mater, with the caveat the money is to go only to the library. It’s all about the books. I support epilepsy research (disgustingly underfunded and touches so many) and Alzheimer’s research (coming for me and mine, you and yours soon enough, I’m afraid). I investigate the companies before I donate so I know exactly what my money is going for. I want my money to do something valuable, not just support the administration of a “non-profit”.
It’s not much, never much. Just a few dollars every year. When I think of how our tax dollars are mis-handled and I have to pay that no matter what because most employers withhold federal taxes from your paycheck and you have to ask for it back (without the interest they have collected all year from using your money), I enjoy the thought that I have voluntarily controlled how my some of my money helps somebody else. It hasn’t supported war, or big business, or violence, or poverty, or politics. Though this year I am tempted to send a few dollars to Bernie Sanders, because as far as I can tell he hasn’t accepted campaign money from any of the big businesses or Wall Street folks; his campaign money has come from little people like you and me, an average donation of $35.00.
I’ve always wondered what life would be like if that good old financial tool called money was not a challenge. I’ve never known financial freedom, and have never forsaken worldly goods to live off the grid. But I live in the United States of America, and even doing with less has a cost. I think you can have contentment without money in a culture that doesn’t honor money. When a week’s groceries now costs more than my Mom used to pay for a monthly mortgage payment when I was growing up, and a car now can cost more than Mom paid for her house back then, profit is the great almighty.
Of course it doesn’t have to be that way. I don’t live that way and most of the folks I know don’t live that way. But 1% out there does and they are taking advantage.
I’d rather be in the 99 %. I don’t think taking advantage of workers is productive and certainly won’t be in the long run when America finally fails. It’s time to bust the banks and the big business industries and let them know we are aware of their game.
Time to even the playing field for the hard working middle class who deserve gainful employment, solid decent homes, fresh food on their tables, education for themselves and their children, health care for all and secure retirement for elders, and clothing, hot water, and hygiene products so we can be in polite company. For the 99% there are 3 simple rules about money. 1. Always save some for yourself first. You have to take care of yourself. 2. Pay your debts. Find a way to keep those debts as small as possible. 3. Give a little of your money away to help others. It will keep you feeling connected.
In honor of my birthday month (or your birthday month whenever it is), support your friends and family in the middle class. Make a financial plan for now and for your retirement. Money is a hard earned tool and can work hard for you as well; that’s how the 1% treat it: as a tool to work for them. Use your precious money to the best of your advantage and protect it from profiting banks and big business. In that money plan, build in a section for saving and for giving some of your money away to your favorite charity, institution, or research. Knowing all these things are in place? Priceless.
Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – an offering of found objects I give to the center of my local labyrinth; so many colors this time of year: white seed heads of ornamental grasses; yellow; orange; red-orange; red; burgundy; brown; bronze, blue, and green.
Current View – Home Sweet Hell (2015, rated R) with Katherine Heigl, about a controlling woman who discovers she likes murdering people, and what her husband does to stop her. Bingeing on Orange is the New Black again, guilty pleasure, so much violence, sex, and language: shivers. A Late Quartet (2012, rated R) with Christoper Walken and Philip Seymour Hoffman, about a member of a string quartet who is diagnosed with Parkinson’s and how it changes the quartet. Good music, very little language and sex, only what is pertinent to move the story along.
Currently Reading – Black-Eyed Susans (2015, fiction) by Julia Heaberlin; Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight (2010, health) by Linda Bacon; Shakespeare’s Wife (2009, history) by Germaine Greer Yes, concurrently.
This week I have been grateful for:
- One of “my” scouts who has been having challenges (we all have our challenges in our own ways) who took the time to stop by my place of work and say hi. Gives me a thrill every time, thinking perhaps I had some sort of influence on a young man who is not a blood relative.
- Surviving the upgrade of my laptop to Windows 10 without too much stress. This has been the month of changes, upgrades, new passwords. Sometimes there is just too much change in too short a time, but so far this is going ok, meaning it is not great but not agonizing.
- Got “called into the office” at work and it went better than expected with some actual commiseration and constructive suggestions.
- Electric lights to help blast away that feeling of wanting to hibernate. Basically: It’s dark out: need sleep.
- A friend’s mom who went to golden stardust last week, who was with her son and one of her daughters when she left us. So good to be with people you love the last minute you are here.
- Glorious sweet warm early autumn days, the air just right, not too hot, not too cold.
- Finding a leg waxing beauty product I have used for the last ten years on-line after my local beauty supply store stopped carrying it.
- Watching Saturday’s storm move in with wind making leaf rain and little leaf tornadoes. Fat black gray pluffy clouds descended into a white-gray blanket with waves of sideways rain. It lifted for a few minutes with a glimpse of the sun and back to the black gray cotton wad clouds, descending whitely again to cover us with precious sky water.
- How vibrant the colors in nature are.
- Having my floor picked up enough for the hubster to vacuum when he decided to.
- A visit with one of my medical specialists and learning more science about the human body.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.
Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch