Free-Range Ramblings

“The Bird Who Escaped His Cage” from the dangerously drool-worthy Etsy shop of Penny Masquerade

My brain is a bit silent today, not in a bad or good way just pretty quiet. Maybe it’s the rainy weather. Maybe it’s the amigurumi I’ve been working on. Maybe it’s just that peaceful satisfaction that tends to bless me now and then. That gentle sense of, “Life’s good enough.” It can be better, and surely it can be worse. So, when I’m sort of in this lazy brain mode I tend to think in fragments—and write that way too. I apologize if this sort of thing drives you nuts.

In one week, I’ll be divorced. I’m past the phase I went through last week where I’d break out into a little impromptu dance when this would occur and am now in the happy sigh followed by many mental mutterings of “Thank you, thank you, thank you” phase. A lot has changed in the two years since Ex moved out. And when I say that, I’m talking about me, myself, and I because who am I to judge another especially when I hardly have any dealings with anymore? I know I have doubts and those come often, but I do move through life more confidently, more comfortably. My decisions are made with me and the children in my mind’s eye—and no one else. And this is fine. This is ok. This works for me. I actually like this. I breathe easy in this. A therapist once said to me as I contemplated what I wanted to do about my marriage—“You were happy before him and you’ll be happy after him.” It’s hard to understand what those words mean, much less to accept them, but they’re true. I was and I am. A husband isn’t a need, it’s a want and in my case, it’s a want I’ll do perfectly fine without.

I’ve linked to a store on Etsy in the picture above. It’s beautiful and the sort of shop that has not one, not two, but many things I find painfully beautiful and exquisite. For someone who was robbed of all of their jewelry a couple of years ago, this sort of shop gives me double heart pangs. I think I’ll have to spread word around to the family and friends for future gift-giving occasions. I’m pretty sure just about anything from here would make me giddy. Wants, of course, every one. But beautiful to look at just the same.

I’ve been reading Outlander in between crochet sessions. I had to slow it down because it was affecting my inner monologue. The book is written in accent if that makes sense. I’m sure there’s a better, more proper, way to say that but I’m seriously fading fast right now and I can’t for the life of me grasp it. The point is, I’ve been reading so much Scottish accented stuff my inner voice is driving me crazy by doing its own imitation of a Scottish accent whenever possible. Phrases like “wee” and “bonny” and “lass” and “ye” and “dinna” and “ken” and “aye” and “verra” keeping dashing around my brain wreaking havoc on my inner monologue. So, I had to stop reading it so constantly because I got irritated with myself. I’m 2/3 the way in, maybe more. It’s a fun book. Extremely silly and the type of thing you’d expect in a romantic adventure set in eighteenth century Scotland with lots of strong red-haired blue eyed kilted warriors running amok and extremely clever and witty ladies with much colorful personality. There’s lots of DANGER and RESCUE (main character has been almost raped and killed at least three times I think) and all that sort of thing. There’s lots of bared body parts and kissing and rubbing and clawing and talking dirty in a Scottish accent. I haven’t read a book like this in ages and it’s been loads of fun and exactly the sort of thing I needed.

Speaking of books, I won a copy of Kiss & Tell on Goodreads and it got plopped on my doorstep yesterday. I opened it up and flipped through it and gasped. It’s gorgeous. I can’t wait to read it. I really needed to put it on my bookcase and force myself to go back to Outlander and crocheting pandas because I really wanted to dive into that book right now this moment. But, I hate reading more than one book at a time. As it is right now, I have three library books at home that need reading, not to mention one more waiting for me, and no I’m not going to tell you about the really long queue I have lined up on top of all of that. And also, I have Soulless and PostSecret patiently watching me from their spots on my shelves which are currently quite undignified and in need of straightening.

So far, money-wise I’m doing excellently. I have $380 left for the twenty remaining days of the year. This is seriously excellent. I’m very encouraged by this as it means this month I will break even if Ex doesn’t pay me a single dime. I do not need a loan from my folks. What it further means is that if Ex does pay me a dime, it’s all going into my Mini-Emergency fund and Debt Repayment Plan. Granted, my debt has increased a bit because of my parents having to step in and cover him for not one but two months in a row as well as helping to cover the school’s registration fees. But, it’s ok. I have a lot of faith it’s going to be cut down quite effectively this year. I just need to keep barging ahead, keep my head clear, and my eyes focused. As a matter of fact, I played with some numbers and if I choose to maintain this level of expenses and Ex’s stream of income comes back to life, I’ll be debt free in the summer of 2012. And if I remain diligent and put most of that money that’s going to be going to debt to my emergency fund, a six month emergency fund will be fully funded in less than two years after I’m free.

People I talk to are freaked out it’s already March. I’m excited. I know we need to enjoy the present, and I make an effort to enjoy the moments as they unfold but I’m absolutely dying for 2011 to just be over and done with because I just know 2012 is going to be a lot better for me in many ways. The money thing is probably one of the largest reasons I feel that way. There’s a lot of talk everywhere these days about how trendy frugality is and whether or not it’s going to last and whether or not we’ve really gotten over the pull of credit cards and living beyond our means. I don’t know about the rest of the country, and I don’t particularly care, but I know for me it’s here to stay. I’ve been craving a simpler, freer life for years already.

I can’t really explain it any better than this: it’s much easier to have few perceived needs and LOTS of perceived wants than for the reverse. And that has been the big learning experience for me. It is more fulfilling, for me, to contemplate my wants, which ones I’m going to fulfill, and just how I’m going to do so. Before I started really consciously managing my money and my spending, this didn’t happen. Something I really wanted passed too easily into the Needs department and my money quickly left me to fulfill it because it’s a need you see and therefore justifiable. But in that mindset, the needs just kept piling one on top of another like some insanely precarious tower of blocks put together by a two year old. Because it is very childish, that mindset. I breathe easier with every so-called need I release back to the want pile. I don’t have a choice on my needs, but I have a choice on my wants. And I think that’s where I see differences appear in the writings of the many people battling it out with their finances.

Look for the instances of want and need in their words, or listen to it when your friends and family speak, and definitely pay attention to it in your own usage. I have a feeling the best way to gauge whether or not a person has made a real change is by gauging the use of the words “want” vs. “need”. When I sit here and start to consider what to plan for as far as spending goes in a given month, it is an examination of this very thing. When you step back and analyze how you’re going to spend your designated amount of money in a given month, even if just loosely, it’s much easier with every “need” you convert to a “want”. 

Can I tell you one more thing? I think a real factor in helping me get this is the environment around my job. I work on a medical campus in a downtown area. Homeless people and beggars are everywhere. Just the other day on my way to take the train home, I passed a scene outside the station. A young man I often see with a sign that says “Hungry” was sitting on the floor against a wall. His face was turned to the side facing me and looked as if he was crying as two older women hunched over him. My heart was broken for this man. I passed someone yesterday rooting through a garbage can quickly before someone saw him but obviously something had caught his eye and he was trying to root it out as quickly as possible. There is an alcove outside the station that is frequently used as a sleeping corner for one homeless person or another. Benches and ledges too. Even on the train, I’m often confronted with the sights(and smells) of extreme poverty if not downright homelessness. I see these things constantly but am not the type of person that can just shove it into the background and let it bounce off me without it affecting me. I wish I was, but I’m not. Right now, I can’t afford to help these people. But if I’m diligent and responsible and effectively sort my needs and my wants, I’ll be able to do just that in no time at all.


8 thoughts on “Free-Range Ramblings

  1. The perfect is the enemy of the good enough. Good for you for understanding the difference between wants & needs. As for finalizing your divorce, you’ve made it from Point A to Point B and are off on a new chapter. Enjoy!

  2. The bobby pins are cute, but I feel like I’d break them in no time.

    I think you’re realization that there really are very few “needs” in life is profound. It’s so freeing knowing that we have a choice about all these things that people think are a mandatory expense. Choice = Power = Freedom.

    • Oh I think they’re so pretty and I know what you mean about how fragile they look but that’s what makes them so sweet.

      Choice = Power = Freedom YES. It’s a cycle. And you can make it a negative one by settling into the easier rut of just making everything a need, or you can transition. It’s the transition that’s powerful but also difficult to do!


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