Thursday, December 21, 2017

Dear Holiday Gift Giver

Dear Holiday Gift Giver,

Thank you so much for thinking of me.  The fact that you care about me enough to endure stressful lines in stores and at the post office tells me that you really want me to know that I'm on your mind.  You want me to know that you love me.

I already know.

Now I have a gift for you.  I would like to release you from this obligation, this burden, this stress.  My gift to you is to tell you that I already know that you love me.  In fact, the best gift you could ever give me is to let me know that you are taking care of something incredibly precious to me:  you.  This isn't the kind of thing you find in a store.  You can't wrap it, box it, ship it.  I won't find it under a tree.  I won't open it Christmas morning.  In fact, if I do find something under a tree, wrapped, and see it's from you, the image of you struggling with bills this or next month might rob me of the joy this gift was intended to bring.

So, if there's a balance on your credit card, or you have student loan debt, or any other kind of debt, then here is what I want from you.  I want you to take whatever money you planned to spend on me, and apply it to that debt.  As you press the button to confirm your extra payment, perhaps you could say a little "Happy Holidays" under your breath in my honor.  As someone I've kept in my life for some time now, I love you enough to want you to give me the gift of seeing you one step closer to your own financial freedom.  There's nothing you could place in a box for me that could ever compete with the joy it would bring me to know that you are taking care of something I love: you.

In addition, I have one more gift for you.  If there is anything I've ever given you, I release you of the obligation you feel to keep it.  If that object no longer brings you joy, it's okay to let it go.  If you have any doubts about whether or not I am okay with you letting go of something I have given you, just ask me.  Most likely, I will tell you that you should just get rid of it.  If it is somehow sentimental to me, but you no longer want it, perhaps I will accept it back from you.  Either way, I don't ever want possessions to be a burden to you.  If I've given something to you, it was because I wanted to show you that I care.  I would never intentionally give you something that would cause you any negative emotional, spacial, or physical outcome.  I am able to realize that you can throw out the object I've given you without throwing me out.

I know that this correspondence is a bit unusual, but; I hope that you find some relief now that you've been released from some obligations.

Happy Holidays!
Someone You Love

Friday, December 1, 2017

Gifting Myself This Year

Want to know a dirty little secret?  I haven't had a dresser in about five years.  Sounds pretty crazy, right? When we moved from the west coast to the east coast, I let my dresser go in the move.  It wasn't in great shape anymore, and didn't seem worth putting on the truck.

Ever since then, I've been organizing my clothing in a super tiny closet and on some shelving cubes.  While it's been working out just fine, I honestly just can't stand looking at it anymore.  I've been on a decluttering mission for about a year now.  Although I have no plans to get rid of all of my clothing, I have realized that it's about more than simply getting rid of things.  Much like my money, I want my possessions to be simplified, then streamlined and organized.  I really do want everything to have a home, and I am willing to invest the time necessary to achieve that goal.  In my financial life, I absolutely do NOT want to have retirement accounts at five different places, and entirely too many credit cards.  I don't need five different bank accounts either.  The same way I don't need my money all over the place, I don't want to see my possessions all over the place either.  This is another way in which I feel clutter and money are related.

So, for the holidays this year, I am getting myself a gift.  I am buying myself a dresser.  As many of you know, we keep the holidays pretty modest in my household.  We have a PJ exchange,  pair it with a junk food, and a movie marathon.  If we have it in our budget, we also like to purchase at least one thing that will improve our space.  This year will be the year of the dresser.  I'm pretty excited because I know myself, and I will probably decide to get rid of some more clothing in the process of filling the dresser.  That will also improve my space.

I am sure this seems like a strange personal finance post, but I am realizing more and more what true balance is all about.  The more I improve my finances, the more I also want to improve my space and my physical health.  The more harmonious these things are, the better I am for my family, my students, my co-workers, and most importantly my present and future self.  So, if there's one idea that I want to put out there, it's to consider "What do I really want for the holidays?  What can I do/buy that will actually improve my life?"  I personally don't really want anything that won't improve my life.  So this year, we're getting a dresser.

What things do you gift yourself and/or others that will improve their lives?