Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Different Kind of Wealth

Not too long ago I started to take direct control of my finances on a daily basis to make sure I wouldn’t bounce my rent cheques or run out of money for groceries. I learned how to balance my chequebook for the first time in my life, and budgeted out to the dollar what my spending for the month would be, instead of just eyeballing it and guesstimating what was in my account. Along with this I’ve also started reading a number of personal finance blogs on a daily basis to help and inspire me on what can be a discouraging task at times.

This morning I clicked on a link from Get Rich Slowly that led me to Christine Kane and a post she put up entitled, “Don’t GET Rich Quick. BE Rich Quick.” It was definitely not something I was expecting to read and was more of a positive thinking/motivational piece. However, that doesn’t negate its value in my eyes and instead got me to thinking about my finances and life in a different way. She advocates for being more prescient in your daily life and taking pleasure in the little things, the here and now, valuing what you have instead of striving and worrying for things you don’t have.

I feel like a bomb has gone off in my life recently. I already had difficulties looking at my eyes in the mirror and finding value within myself on most mornings. Since the herpes diagnosis I have retreated from life even farther, feeling like a social leper and more confused and hurt about my future, relationships and what life holds for me now more than ever. Intuitively I know it’s not the end of the world, but emotionally I’m wracked with guilt and regret at some of the choices I have made that led me to where I am now. Any time I take a moment to really think about it, I end up in tears of despair.

What Kane’s post got me thinking about is the intangible wealth in my life and the things I should recognize and be grateful for on a regular basis. I have parents who are so supportive of my education and goals that they are willing to do anything necessary to see me through this, including sacrificing their time, money or going out of their way to get me what I need. My siblings are equally supportive, even if they don’t know exactly what it is I’m doing here in University, but they are interested and encouraging nonetheless.

While I don’t have a lot of money, I also don’t have a penny of debt which has been an incredible feat considering the fact that I’ve spent the past six years straight in post-secondary education. I have a roof over my head, a very nice and reliable car to get me where I need and more than enough clothing to keep me warm, dressed and even reasonably fashionable. Regardless of the herpes, the depression, my slipping weight gain and inactivity, I am still a beautiful person who has so much going for me if I could just see what other people see in me.

I desperately need to stop hiding from life, sequestering myself in my room, sleeping away my days in the futile hope that when I wake up everything will be taken care of and the stress will be gone. While I sit here and worry about the future and the things I don’t have, my life is happening. I have become so disengaged from living everyday that I’m missing out on so many things unnecessarily. Wealth is so much more than just the numbers in my bank account, and it took a blog for me to be reminded of that.


Rachel said...

I know it must be scary and isolating, but you will get through this. So many people do. It sounds like you are already on your way.

Katherine said...

hear hear! I think a lot of people are envious of those of us still studying - we get to spend all day doing something we're interested in and we can pop out to the shops or go for a picnic in the middle of the day if we want!

ChristineKane said...

hi jane... thanks for the "blog nod." and also for your great insights in this post. i love the name of your site! i come from a family of PhDs, so I understand the work and stress. Keep breathing. (Kind of lame advice, but it always sort of sounds good!)