I understand the importance of living within my financial means. And now that I’m doing Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace, that concept is really being driven home. But when it comes to time and energy, I regularly live beyond my means.
Everyday I’m allotted 24 hours. That’s my limit, the extent of my daily budget. But I always want to spend more than I have. My list is forever longer than my day.
It doesn’t help that stuff “costs” me more than the average Joe. My health doesn’t allow me to
run myself ragged the way I used to do as much as I’d like. I can’t overbook and make up for it by operating at warp speed without paying for it dearly later. And frankly I just can’t afford it anymore.
I’m overspending, borrowing into my future. I’m seriously in debt. At the end of the day I’m already looking forward to the next “pay period.” I’m out of funds, and I haven’t even bought what I really wanted.
I need to accept that I’m not the “average Joe,” and we’re not the Joneses. I’m me with my limitations, and we have what we have. I can look at all the other wives and moms (even my own mom) who can do way more than I can in a day, and lose myself in a frazzled, frustrated funk. Or I can look at me and be thankful for what I can afford.
My attic is going to stay a discombobulated mess, the service people will have to make their way around miscellaneous construction stuff in our basement, and our miles of new trim, that isn’t really new anymore, is going to remain uncaulked and unpainted for
way too long a little longer than I’d like. Eventually, maybe, it will all get done. This isn’t even the really important stuff, but I have to live within my means.
With any limited resource, it’s all about priorities. Stephen Covey has a great illustration for time management. Time is a jar, important things are rocks, and the less important things, sand. If you fill your jar with sand, you’ll have a hard time fitting in the rocks. But if you add your rocks first, the sand will fit around the rocks.
Too often at the end of the day, my jar is full of sand, and I’m trying to cram a few rocks on top of everything. Prioritizing is easier said than done.
Some mornings I get out of bed and think, “I have so much to do today, I’ll just leave my bed unmade.” Nine times out of ten I end up making it anyway. I like my bed made, but in the scheme of things it’s definitely sand — maybe only a tablespoon at that. But tablespoons, like nickels and dimes, add up. Maybe making the bed isn’t the best example, but how many less important things do I allow to fill up my day?
Maybe I can let the laundry go a little longer, or ignore the water spots on the mirror I cleaned just yesterday. I have so many things I want just so, it can take a lifetime to maintain. And life is just too short.
Prioritizing means hard choices. I play this game of choice dubbed by my sister, “Which Would You Rather?” The player, (usually my sister or anyone within earshot), has to choose between two equally odious choices. It could be called, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place.” The only rule is you have to choose one.
What do I need to give up to do more of the things that matter? To write, to do art? It’s time for me to make some hard choices. I’m tired of ending my day with nothing but sand. I’m tired of living beyond my means.