I started this blog as a way to track my financial progress while I worked towards becoming debt-free. Over the last 14 months or so, I have obsessed over money and what effect it has on my life. Through this process I have discovered that I have let money completely control my life. It is basically what I wake up thinking about and what I analyze every night before I go to bed. It is a large part of the conversations I have with my husband and what keeps me from enjoying anything I have in life.
I know that sounds like a negative, but it has actually brought me to realize that money is not what I should give so much of my time to. I should be enjoying each day and the people in my life. I have had 2 very financially influential people in my life, my mom and dad. Divorcing when I was 5, they both had VERY different views about money.
My dad was all about only getting the necessities in life. He worked at the same job for most of his life, working his way from dog catcher to Supervisor of Recreation in the town where he grew up. He never went to college, he was a recovering alcoholic, he struggled with anxiety, he was very fair to people and always remembered Monti Reed who gave an young married guy a chance at a job. Even though he did not meet the educational qualifications, Monti saw something in my dad and continued to mentor him throughout his career. My dad was not very demonstrative and his main topics of conversation were sports and jobs. I believe he was proud of my accomplishments, though he did not really tell me. My dad died on Monday after a short battle with cancer. He was 78.
My mom struggled to stay employed, never really having a "Career." She was a secretary, a cashier, a receptionist and much more. She loved me and my sisters and spent most of her adult life alone. She adored her grandchildren often calling them Grammy's Lambies. She always spent more than she had and moved a lot. She saved nothing. She struggled with living in reality. She spent time in institutions, mostly before I was born but never really got over being there. She was egocentric, yet giving. You always knew where she stood because she would have no problem telling you. I always knew she loved me. My mom died in 2005 after a long battle with cancer. She was 68.
So, as I sit and reflect on their lives both the good and the bad I am searching for the learning that can be gleaned from them. What did they do that was wonderful and fulfilling and what did they do that was hurtful or disappointing? I wish I could have asked these questions of them, but I was not able to be with either one of them as they passed away.
So it leaves me with the question,
Are we destined to live the lives of our parents or can we change mid-stream to make a life more fulfilling?