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April 2009 - Posts - Workin' It
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Workin' It

"Workin' It" is the blog for working parents who are committed to the frugal lifestyle. This blog addresses some of the issues working families face in keeping their lifestyle frugal, including childcare, work expenses, and the constant trade off between time and cost. The author and her husband, both law school graduates, work full-time; the author has a law firm, and dear husband a property management business. They also have an eight month old. Despite all that we have on our plates, we're still committed to living life frugally.

April 2009 - Posts

  • Then what? Whatcha gonna do...

     When the new wears off and the old shines through?

     This song has been bouncing around in my head for the past two years. Funny, but true. Why would one country song that I was never much into stick with me like that?

    Maybe because it's true? For quite a while, Americans have been the "friend" in the song's opening who's never quite satisfied. With two pretty kids and a real nice wife, but still not happy with a pretty nice life. Where does that come from? How can the most materially prosperous people in the world be so deeply unhappy with lives where we are, for the most part, safe, warm, fed, clean, and dry? What were we all so unhappy about that we had to stuff ourselves--literally and figuratively--to avoid facing it?

    Could it be life itself? Are we now suffering the hangover from decades of binge drinking crap to blot out the existential fear of creating our own lives?

    Once upon a time, from what I'm told, people went through a period of life called "adolescence." And during this "adolescence," they engaged in a process known as "growing up." Part of growing up, according to the ancient myths, was being stupid, shallow, and self-absorbed, and then the other part was confronting life. Dealing with the big questions, figuring out what one most wanted out of life, and setting out on the path for that. It was never an easy process, and indeed, most people continued the process throughout their lives. But they did it.

    Now, however, we seem to be stuck in a perpetual state of adolescence. Like teenagers, the only noun we know is "I," and our main verb is "want." We work hard, sure, but so do the teens at McD's. Like teens, we seem to think that our money is all ours to have fun with--the bills are something Mom and Dad will take care of. Budgeting, saving, planning, sacrificing...these are things for the old people (which, sorry guys, is us!). Responsible living means facing that one has responsibilities. Budgeting requires long-term thinking, goal-setting, and prioritizing. It involves facing the simple truth that we can't have everything, that some doors are closed, others are open, and we have to own up to being in charge of which we walk through. 

    It's a rough business, this being a grown up. There's a natural regret for roads not taken; there's a natural trepedation for a future unknown. But grown ups deal with it. They don't go out and buy a new TV to quell their anxiety. They don't ignore the credit card bill because they know they've spent too much. They don't let some outside source (often the media) tell them that newer, shinier, faster will soothe them and let them forget all their troubles. No matter how much crap you buy, you're still as old as you were before you went in the store.Your days on this earth are still as limited, and somehow or another, you have to figure out how to make them meaningful. Is that scary? You bet. But--and here's the kicker--that's what grown ups do.

    You can't fill an inner hole with outer dirt. Having the coolest iPhone doesn't make confronting your own mortality (and morality) any easier. The cutest Coach bag won't do crap to bring you peace with yourself. Do I have the answers? Heck no. But I'm fairly sure that Madison Avenue and Wall Street don't have 'em, either. Walmart ain't gonna be there when you leave this world, but you sure will be. There's no thing you can buy that will make that an easier trip, but there's a whole lot you can do that just might. It's a tragedy when a teenager is taken from this world because they haven't lived yet; can we say, however old we get, that we've really lived if we've never confronted life as an adult?

    It's your life but remember this
    There's bound to be some consequences
    Sneaking under other fences. 

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