Friday, October 23, 2009

Luck, Money and Choices

Let me start off by saying that we're lucky to have enough money. We can pay the mortgage (even though it's about half of our monthly income - yikes!), we can eat mostly good, healthy food (although we don't do organic much due to cost) , we can go on vacation (often very economical vacations, but occasionally a more expensive, to us, one), we have enough clothes, we can buy some things that we want (although we generally have to save up for them), and we can do many of the activities we'd like to do (definitely not all, though).

My point, though, is that we do have to make choices. We don't have enough money to just buy any 'ol thing we would like. We have wish lists and we save. We can't do any 'ol big vacation when we'd like. We makes lists of what we'd like to do and choose carefully. We can't do every activity we'd like to do. Davan would do more Do Jump, gymnastics, dance, piano lessons, and art lessons if she could, while I'd continue with Do Jump (I'm thinking I may quit because of money), do yoga and some sort of martial arts. We'd all have unlimited ski passes every year. We can't have a big (or even really decent sized) house in the neighborhood we'd really like to live in. We rarely eat out. We have one car and are mindful of how much gas we buy for it. We keep our house much cooler than most people's in the winter and don't have AC for the summer at all. Several of the more expensive food items are only purchased as treats. I pretty much get all my clothes from Goodwill. Davan gets one present for birthdays and one for Christmas. Often it's an experience rather than a physical item.

So, here we are, making our choices, like everyone does. Some people choose to drive everywhere in their two or more cars, eat out a lot, send their kids to private school and every evening "enrichment" activity possible and fill their curb side trash can every week. Those are their choices. What I don't want to hear from those people, though, is how lucky I am to get to stay home with Davan.

Don't get me wrong. I am lucky. I'm lucky to be married to a husband who is a dedicated family man and who is convinced that having a stay at home person is a good choice. I'm lucky to get the experience of bringing up our daughter and getting to spend time with her (at least most of the time that seems lucky...other times it seems like Anthony is the lucky one). I'm lucky to have parents who support us in our choices both emotionally and, when they are able (which isn't right now), a little bit financially.

But, wait. My whole point is that isn't luck. I chose Anthony. He chose me. I didn't chose someone more interested in partying/consuming/whatever. We chose to have me stay home with Davan, giving up a substantial income (my education is in engineering). We chose every day to spend within our means. It's a choice.

I may feel lucky because of these choices. Others may also think I'm lucky (except maybe those who really don't like to be with their kids anyway, which seems like a lot of people, really). The truth is, though, that we make our own luck. If you think that what I have is lucky, then make it happen in your family. If you think it's lucky to have a big house and two or more cars, go for it. Each of us are trapped more by our choices than by our luck.

So, go forth, realize that every time you're spending money you're making choices and good luck to you!

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