Archive for the ‘money’ Category

Payday

May 15, 2013

Today I paid my bills. This is meaningful activity to me, and gives me great joy. It is my dearest wish to pay off our debts, to live well, to be trustworthy, to be wise with money. This is truly a life goal and we have a lifetime of struggle to prove it. Some have it easier than others. Our road has not been easy.

Most of the world lives in what we would call abject poverty. This is a distressing structure of current society and must eventually change. How most of the world can be denied access to resources to allow them to develop to their full potential is beyond me. Most people are not even aware of this situation. This is because we live in a manner that allows us to be blind to the great suffering of others. Is it our fault? No, but is it theirs? We were not put upon this earth in order to hoard its luxuries. We were put here to learn to serve one another, to accompany one another on this journey. We are social creatures, we do not survive alone. We need the company of others.

No, we will never all be the same, nor will we ever share and share alike. There is something about being human that wants to strive. To each is given talents & skills & our task is to discover our own. Those that work harder should be rewarded. But that is not how society works. Those that work the hardest, day in and day out, are barely surviving. Their reward is possible survival to the next day. Those born with money who don’t work at all— live a life of luxury. The truth is, most of the wealth of the world is held by a tiny percentage of the earth’s peoples. Not because of their own merit or their working hard, but just because they were born into it. All I’m saying is, we can do better than this. Everyone has a right to an education, a right to opportunity, and most of the world doesn’t see that in a lifetime.

Meanwhile, I paid my bills. I checked off those amounts on my payday budget and feel happy and accomplished. When you have lived through times in your life when you could not do JUST THAT, it feels incredible to just be able to pay them. I pray for good health enough over the next 20 years to make a huge debt go away, and leave something to my children. Inshallah.

As the sun sets behind the horizon, I will take a late walk around the pond.

 

last day of January in South Carolina

January 31, 2010

We had a slight ice storm here yesterday. I wouldn’t call it “ice STORM” actually, because I’ve seen those up north. This was a lighter “ice glistening”. I went out and took a few pictures for the rare occasion. Up north they are having lows below 10, and highs in the 20s if they’re lucky. We are getting down to their high temps. at night, and will reach up to the 40s at least.

This morning it is about 30 degrees and climbing, not warm by any means, but the sun came in so bright by 8am that it woke me from a sleep. I was once again dreaming of working with children, guiding them to somewhere. This is my constant dream, I am a teacher or guider of children. I am sure that is my calling, at least for what the Bahai’s call the “core activities”. When I am not in contact w/ children, I feel very out of sorts. So one project I need to take seriously and get done is an organized set of 15 lessons on virtues that I can have ready to do anywhere, something open to all, something that helps children find the gems inside of them.

I’ve had money on the brain so once again worked on a budget this morning. I could write a long essay on this but suffice it to say, I am thinking back over how Al & I have struggled financially all our lives. Our entire life together. For many reasons. Nothing was ever handed to us on a silver platter. If my father had LIVED (longer than he did), then maybe I would have had such a thing. But not after he passed when I was 16 yrs old. From then on, it’s been one financial struggle after another. Then Al and I got married before we were 20. In Al’s father’s book, that meant we were on our own. Nothing ever came from there to help us out financially. So from ages 18 & 19, we have made it ourselves.

What this means is a particular UNDERSTANDING of what it means to be first generation college, make it on our own, because that’s exactly what we did. My father having a PhD did nothing to show me the way through the academic zone. I did it all on my own. Through the 1980s & downsizing, we were hurt by that when Al lost at least a couple middle management jobs. I know what it is to need food stamps, to stand in that line, to have people think you’re stupid, to be looked down upon, to have people in the grocery line behind you give you hate stares. I know what it means to ask my doctor’s permission to get my kid vaccinations free from the county health dept. & have them turn me down, because I was dressed well and they “didn’t think I needed it”. At the time, I was job hunting. I know what it is to have a “friend” get mad at you for having 4 kids, because she thought we couldn’t afford it. She told me she stopped at 2 because of us. She was nuts, but these things stay with you. And I know what it is to stand in a line to get government cheese. These things leave their mark on you that never leaves.

Al and I have worked HARD all our lives. So all that being said, we have made it, always made it. But besides all the things we had no control over, I wonder now what part of it was us. When you live all your married life, always living within your means but never saving a dime, something is going on psychologically that you never have the EXPECTATION of saving anything. That is what I am now trying to change. There is no reason why, at this time in our lives with our current income, we cannot save something every payday. So I spent some time again working on a budget.

This is nothing new either, I’ve done budgets out the wazoo and nothing much ever comes of it. But you have to just go back to it again, yet again, and look at your circumstances. For some time now, I’ve kept detailed records. They are just now becoming even more detailed. We will figure this thing out. I figure I have 20 years to work, build up a retirement check from TIAA-CREF, then retire. The best thing we can do besides that is save some money ourselves, regularly, without fail. This will make all the difference in the world for our kids to have anything when we pass, and also help us when we get “old”.

The pond is calling to me and my plan is to take a lengthy walk. I must get out into this gorgeous sunshine out there, even if it is “cold”.