There are days, many of them really, when life feels like a slog through a muddy field. Day to day details, obligations, petty challenges and hurdles drag at you as you muddle through from morning ’til night only to get up the next day and start over. You find yourself saying things like “I just need to get through this one week, this one thing, this one obligation… and then I’ll be ok.” But you get through that one thing and poof, there’s another waiting around the corner to drag you back down again.
I’ve written before about my attempts to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. To take time to savor the little things in the middle of the chaos. To be rather than do. To live the life I’m living rather than wishing it away.
I’ve spent even more time thinking about how to do just that.
It’s so easy to make to do lists, plans, write down goals, and to put actual living on hold until you accomplish everything you set out to do.
I was in the car the other day when the lyrics to The Gambler by Fun stopped my thoughts in their tracks.
With our out-of-the-norm medical bills, high mortgage, and other expenses that accrue when raising two kids, a cat, and a puppy in an affluent area, we find ourselves frequently worrying about money and savings. We spend what we must, but skimp on as many extras as we can, not going out to eat whenever we want, not having as many date nights as we need, never taking a vacation that isn’t an oblication of sorts.
Fun’s words rang in my ears as I drove, thinking about all the fun trips our friends were taking this summer.
“We’ve got 50 good years left to spend out in the garden
I don’t care to beg your pardon,
We should live until we die.”
50 years. 50 years is a long time.
Saving is important. So is being prepared for various horrible things that could maybe happen down the road.
But life is sometimes much shorter than we anticipate. So what’s the point of saving and scrimping for a possible future when we have a life to live today?
We aren’t draining our savings. We aren’t going to stop being smart and frugal. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to put off living my life today in anticipation of living it further down the road.
After all, in this grand rat race that we run, who decides when we’re done achieving and are ready to start enjoying the fruit of our labors? And what if we wait too long?
This August M, C, Little L and I are taking our first vacation as a family of four. Yes. Our first. C is 9, Little L will be 7, and we’ve never taken a family vacation that wasn’t centered on heading to see extended family for a holiday.
It’s not going to be long, it’s not going to be fancy. I bought the tickets at super last minute discount rates. We booked an inside cabin and I doubt that we’ll splurge on any shore excursions, but for four days we’re cruising down to Mexico. Just us. Just to nibble at this life of ours.
I have a feeling it’s going to be grand.