I just spent $80 buying four tickets to my daughter’s upcoming theatrical debut. Hours earlier, I spent $137 on a pediatric dental check up. (Oh, the pain of having no cavities.) We celebrated by spending $5.60, even with a coupon, at the overpriced ice cream store. I haven’t even tallied the cumulative damage of grocery shopping six separate times last week.
The sum total is I hate to spend money, and I never hated it more than now.
But after reading one of my favorite mamas shout it out, and the country’s most sensible columnists spell it out, I had a revelation earlier today. I’d better go with the flow. In fact, I’d better flow even mo’.
Spending is the new saving.
The only way to keep this boat afloat is to start bailing it out.
We’re going to have to save this sinking ship by spending money.
This is acutely painful to me, and in that way I can be sure that it is my penance. Because it is so powerfully my own lesson, I have to start by apologizing for dragging the whole globe into this ordeal with me. Sorry, shipmates.
I know, I know. After I just railed against wanting the things we don’t need, now I say we need to buy what we don’t want. What I’m really saying is what I’m saying to myself. I cannot be both optimistic and fearful, trusting and stingy, loving and miserly. I did my best to cover my bases. I didn’t expect it to turn out this way. Now I’m going to have to do the really difficult thing.
I’m going to have to admit that it didn’t turn out the way I expected it to.
I’ve read what some of you write about financial pressures, where you stand, what you’re in and what you’re not. Layoffs and loans. Skimpy paychecks and thrift store bargains. Market trauma. Unopened IRA statements. Maybe you had a lot to lose and did. Maybe you didn’t, so you’re not far behind. Either way, we’re all in it together. And I will say this: I have had my time to work hard and save money. What I saved was never intended just for myself, but to ease the way for others: my daughter’s education, my family’s age and infirmity, my commitment to the dharma, and a comfort against the vast dark specter of uncertainty. I am no financial genius, and I am no saint, but I felt, up to now, secure. But more than that, I felt smart, disciplined and dutiful.
But I’m none of those things. I have no insulation from bad news or disappearing digits. No buffer from the bottomless bottom line.
But as of now, I have four tickets to some guaranteed good times, and paying top buck is the only way I can share.
God bless us, every one.