Act 364

Be nice to yourself

So here’s the thing. We’re awfully hard on ourselves especially when it comes to money. It’s wrapped in expectations, competition, accomplishment, pride, vanity, secrecy, even shame. It’s not really a healthy relationship at the best of times. We measure ourselves by it and judge one another by how we use or don’t use it.

I’ve spent a year trying to dissect my relationship with money and debt. Why I shop, what I buy, why I buy it, how I buy it, what I do it with it and how I got here in the first place. And I’ve learned a great deal. Mostly that you can’t buy happiness. It’s not for sale. It can’t be sold, traded, exchanged or even earned. It has to be cultivated. We owe nobody for our happiness and nobody is responsible for it but us.

I think if we were nicer to ourselves, we might have an easier time of freeing ourselves from our addiction to consumerism. Bigger, better, shinier, newer, nicer. For some people, shopping is a hobby; an all inclusive week in Mexico an annual entitlement; a big screen TV a basic necessity; a luxury car a status symbol. None of this could be further from the truth. We’ve fallen under the spell of keeping up with the Jones, the greener grass on the other side. It’s a pretty crafty illusion if you ask me. That’s why I spent a year peeking behind the curtain. It’s my view that there’s plenty of button pushing and lever pulling going on behind there by the so-called wizards of wealth. It just wasn’t adding up for me.

It’s adding up now. The wizards are just ordinary people trying to do their job, the Jones are in worst debt than you and that greener grass is astroturf. It doesn’t really matter what everyone else has or does, what really matters is what you’ve got going for you. Your happiness. Your dreams. Your family. You. So be nice to yourself. A friend you can count on, always.

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Act 355 (10 to go!)

Remember that true friendship comes when silence is comfortable

We don’t put enough value on silence. There’s so much noise in the economy. Every holiday is seen as an opportunity to sell a cheap mattress, a reverse mortgage, a life insurance product, a fitness fix, a juicy juicer. It’s a bit sad that our lives are constantly invaded by this.

Today I spent the day with my very best friend. We chatted and caught up of course. But we also just sat quietly together as friends and enjoyed each others’ company. I can’t put a price on these moments. Reading a paper. Making a pot of soup. Having a nap. Sipping a coffee.

I worry that we are so bombarded with messaging, we loose our grip on what is authentic and meaningful to our very serious detriment.

Silence is a gift. Think of friends with whom you haven’t spoken in a while and when you talk, it’s like you’ve not missed a moment. That’s not neglect. That’s the knowledge that your friendship is so real that the quiet is comfortable. And in quiet reflection, you remember the  moments, the laughs, the meaning.

So this Christmas, I am grateful for the knowledge and the comfort that my closest friendships are not measured by words or actions, but by meaning.

It’s so very true that the most meaningful things in life are priceless. The company of a friend, a hug, snuggling a child to sleep, reading a book, holding hands.

And despite the hustle and bustle of life, we need to find the quiet and comfort of true meaning. Sshh, it’s important.