I’m typing this to you from the airport in Grand Rapids. Guys. This morning was a serious test to my patience. I showed up nice and early to the airport for my 8:00 am flight, excited to leave negative 9 degree weather for the sunny skies of California. Check in was smooth, security was quick and it wasn’t until I arrived at my gate that I realized something was wrong. There was only one attendant tending to at least 150 people, a line of anxious passengers at the agent’s desk (with no agent), and I realized my ticket didn’t have an assigned seat on it. So over to said line I went. After half the flight boarded, I finally went to ask the agent how I could get my seat number and didn’t have much success there. Long story short, I was asked to stand to the side while each and every passenger had their ticket scanned successfully. Even the other passengers standing with me, also without assigned seats, were finally given theirs. When it was finally just me standing there, the attendant told me he was sorry but the flight was overbooked by one. That one being moi. And I would unfortunately need to find another way to LA. I’m still here waiting. Crossing my fingers I can get out west by tonight. Now I understand this isn’t a life or death situation in any way but my goodness, I tell you this kind of stuff is simply maddening.
And unfair. But life’s unfair so I digress.
My lesson this morning brought to life an interesting snag I think we all run into at one point or another with contentment. We always dig into this at Making Things Happen and it’s been such a revolutionary way of thinking for me, since I attended the conference the first time in 2012. It’s that we’re wired to believe we will finally be content if and when reach X. Which actually defeats the whole purpose of just being happy and content with the time being, with the now, the present, and the as is leading up to whatever X is. Like X is the mothership of joy! I also think this is why contentment is such a hard to achieve mindset for perfectionists (raises hand really high) and those who strive to overachieve. It’s impossible to accept anything less than perfect because perfection is where contentment is nestled away. But again, I could talk about this for days. And today, I want to simply dive into this little epiphany I had in between frustrated tears at the GR airport this morning (yup, I’m the girl with the pink Kate Spade bag who went through security twice!) and how this is applicable to finances over here. Because I didn’t actually need to get to LA immediately at 8:00 am this morning to feel content today. It got (is in the process of getting) worked out. The lesson was there’s still lots to be content about while I sit here with my earbuds in and fingers typing away to you. Onto my debrief!
What has not been working: More stuff. More stuff in order to feel happy. This. Is. Not. Working. At all. I mean technically buying or accumulating more stuff can temporarily bring me or you more joy and happiness because it feels good in the moment and satisfies a want, but I’ve realized this is such a trap. New throw pillows? Guys. I have to stop! A quick getaway to a tropical paradise with my husband because we can afford it and we ‘deserve’ it because we deal with such severe Michigan winters? Oh gosh. Listen to me! I’ve found myself on multiple occasions this year feeling like if I just get one more tchotchke for the living room, or one more throw blanket here, or one more change to the paint color upstairs, then I will have achieved contentment! If I can buy it then I must have it because it’s a shortcut to contentment like those make cash fast scams. I often, honestly feel like I’m so close to contentment I can taste it. But nope, Rhi you’re wrong. You’re missing the mark. Using my and our finances in any shape or form to find contentment is most definitely not working.
What has been working: Earlier this year Andrew and I finally met with our financial advisor to talk about our futures and how we want to see ourselves in 40 years. Using our money as a way to plan responsibly for our future and the family we want to start this year was huge for us as a couple. I’m a big believer in teamwork and going into that very long meeting as a team was powerful. It also made me realize I work pretty dang hard for my money! I should manage it wisely. We’ve been having a ton more financial talks in our house regarding money and that’s a shift from the past where it just hardly came up in conversation. I think finding contentment in the financial arena is going to be trickier for me than the others since it feels like such a measuring stick for the kind of woman and business person I am but hey baby steps right? That’s what this contentment journey is all about for me. Oh and meal planning. Meal planning has been such an easy way to manage money better!
Short term goal: Our short terms goals are a bit personal to share here but they involve our monthly spending budget and working closely with out financial planner to make the best choices for us. Oh, and no more throw pillows. Seriously. I’m done! Come to our garage sale this summer and buy all of the ones I grew tired of, please.
Long term goal: To be financial secure enough to open my own floral shop. In the south. There’s a big piece of my heart right there.
Feel free to leave your experiences below and to share them with the hashtag #theyearofcontent.
Happy Weekend friends xoxo