Friday, December 5, 2014

I nearly did it again!

So, I had my Thursday babysitting this week, at our church. 2 boys, well behaved, and we had a lot of fun together. Anyway, when one of the moms came to drop off her son, I noticed that her hair was a different shade. Since I knew what brand she had bought before (and it's the brand that I buy, and near to the color that I'm looking for), I asked which color she used. That's when she told me she had it done at a salon this time. Okay. Looks nice. I'll continue on my search for the perfect color for me.

When she came back to get her son, she and the other mom were talking about their iphones and the different apps available. Okay, so a lot of people have iphones. I haven't really wanted one, yet. So I'm okay with not having one.

Second mom came in to drop off her young son, holding a Starbucks red Christmas cup of something delicious, I'm sure. This mom has 7 kids. And they live on 1 salary. First mom has 4 kids, and they live on 1 salary. My green monster was welling up inside of me. How on earth do these people afford salon visits, iphones, Starbucks drinks?

And then I remembered our various conversations, here. About how comparing our situation to that of others will only lead to misery. And about how we never know how other people are managing their finances. And about how we all have different financial priorities.

And then I thought about how my family is financially secure, should the rug be pulled out from under us. And how our retirement years are nearly financed, and we still have many earning years, this decade and next. Basically, we're doing well.

And to think that I nearly let the monster of comparison get me again. I'm learning! Thanks to all of you, I am learning.

18 comments:

  1. Well done for talking yourself away from the monster. It can be so hard, and it's so easy to succumb. I know I'm going to mentally refer back to this post today! Thank you.

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    1. Thanks, Jessica.
      Have a great weekend!

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  2. The grass is always greener until we learn that sometimes it's artificial turf.

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    1. Hi live and learn,
      Ha Ha! But what you said rings true!

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  3. Congratulations Lili! Its so hard sometimes to compare and try to justify the numerous discrepancies in people's lives. And especially at this time when there is just so much of everything around. We can never really know someone else's circumstances unless you have a heart-to-heart conversation with the person and even then, she/he may not divulge all the truth. The Starbucks may have been a gift card from last winter, the haircut an early Christmas gift from a relative, etc., etc. there are probably people envious of when you and your family are out for a special dinner, and perhaps guess that you go every week whereas their restaurant trip is once a year. We just never know, so you're very wise to take a step back and re-evaluate and appreciate all that you have. And thank you, again, for reminding all of us!
    Jayne

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    1. Hi Jayne,
      There could be so many rational explanations for other folks' apparent spending habits, as you said.

      And what it boils down to, for me, is that it is a waste of my mental energy to focus on what someone else is doing or has. Especially so, as I am confident that our family is making the choices that are right for our family, and maybe no one else's. Why should I fret over whether or not someone else has an iphone, or does the salon thing for their hair, when I am content with how I've chosen to live?

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  4. What's that quote... the grass is always greener over the septic tank? I don't interact with the "normal world" much these days, and occasionally when I do I'm left feeling a bit like I live on a different planet - mostly it's the casual spending that shocks me. I have to remind myself that while all of these other people are "getting" piles of stuff, I am getting other things - like freedom from having a job, freedom from debt, getting to eat real food instead of "simulated food-like substances (as Michael Pollan calls it) and freedom from the need to "fit in." So I may have a twinge of jealousy now and then, but it quickly vanishes when I remind myself of the real cost of all of those "little extras."

    Anyhow - I have never colored my hair, so this is a tad bit out of my realm, but have you ever considered trying henna? I've heard that in addition to coloring, it's supposed to be really good for your hair and it's completely non-toxic. I'm not necessarily suggesting it since I'm utterly clueless in this department - just wondered if you've tried it and if all the good things I've heard about it are true.

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    1. Hi cat,
      I used henna back in my college years. I'm not sure it covers gray hairs, though. And that's my primary concern. You're right, though, it is supposed to healthy for your hair, and not at all toxic.

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  5. Ah and you just never know. I get an occasional Starbucks- I make my Christmas gift card from my son last all year long! Angela

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    1. Hi Angela,
      Good for you! And you're right, that Christmas Starbucks could have been paid for with a gift card. I do something similar with Christmas tea, that I receive as a gift. I save a couple of tea bags for the following Christmas season.

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  6. You hit the nail right on the head! Your family's priorities are what matters and you are right, you really have no idea, unless told directly, how someone is financing what I'll call a treat: the salon visit, the coffee from Starbucks, etc. Also, I ahve found that as I age (just hit 51), there is less and less material stuff that I want to have. I moved out of the marital home 2 years ago, and again this past Summer found us moving to a new rental. Each time, my needs were assessed, things were gotten rid of, priorities made and eventually needs, followed by wants, were acquired. I scrimp in many ways, but I DO have a monthly cleaning service. I also would have considered that a total waste of money years ago. Fast forward and osteo arthritis entered my life as a full time employee, and it simply prevents me from doing what I feel is necessary. I gladly eat less meat in order to afford this. I do drive what appears to be a new car (it's a 4 y.o. Prius that had ridiculously low miles on it), paying CASH, so as not to have a loan. I find myself in the wonderful position of not having any debt, saving frantically for my next forever home, which I am envisioning as a 3 bed/2 bath Ranch on 1/2 an acre. Simple, modest, will meet my anticipated needs. Follow your path-sometimes we can be tempted, but you were able to dodge that!

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    1. Hi Carol,
      You're right about that, each family needs to figure out their own priorities. For you, a cleaning service makes absolute sense, with your surgeries/recovery time, and arthritis. You're doing a great job and realize that dream of your own home soon!

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  7. I bet that most of us succumb to the green-eyed monster from time to time. I know I do. Thanks for the reminder to be grateful for all we have and to avoid comparison!

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    1. HI Kris,
      I'm sure its one of the nastier parts of the human experience, to compare and be jealous. After all, look at Cain and Abel. It didn't take very long for jealousy to strike, did it?! Even if comparison is "only human", we still have the ability to squelch it as soon as we feel it. I'll keep working on that end of things.

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  8. Occasionally I find myself thinking I carry the world's moral compass. When that happens I try and step back, take a breath and remember what is right for me is not necessarily right for someone else. (Notice I said "try" since sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail.) For the record I personally think McDonalds coffee is 10 times better than Starbucks and for $1.62 once a week I get a delicious large cup of coffee that lasts quite a while.

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    1. I love that, Anne, carrying the world's moral compass!
      How very good to know (about different fast food coffee). I occasionally get coupons in the mail for free McDonalds coffee. I may give it a try.

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  9. Comparison will steal your joy. I find that it's better to not compare myself to others because there is no comparison. You've done the right thing by looking at what you have, which is wonderful and way more than many people have. You're on the right track. :)

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    1. Hi Belinda,
      You've got the right attitude!
      Do you know what I find very interesting? People of all income levels make these mental comparisons and think that they're getting the short end of the stick. When one pursues material goods, there never seems to be total satisfaction.

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I'm so glad that you stopped by today. Please comment, and let me know what you're thinking.