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Just a Thought - Money is nice but ... PDF Print E-mail
Monday, August 06, 2012 10:38 AM

Once upon a time, I had a full-time job. We had money. Then I went to a part-time job. We had less money. Now, I have no job.
We have no money.

I guess I should rephrase. We have money compared to many people of the world. Compared to many people of the world, we have lots of money. Compared to what we had before, though, well, it gets depressing.

We used to be able to go out to eat. I could shop and buy new clothes. We went to the movies. We could be frivolous with our spending. At least, I could. “Frivolous” has never exactly been in my husband’s vocabulary.

I realize we are in the same boat as many people in our country who are struggling to make ends meet. This is why, instead of getting bogged down by thinking of all the downfalls of our situation, I try to make the best of it. I’ve been focusing on the positives the circumstances have brought us. Realizing you have little money forces you to find, and appreciate, activities that are free.

It doesn’t cost anything to catch butterflies down by the river behind where we live. I bought pink and purple gauze nets on sticks at the Dollar Tree which I found completely by accident, which was hilarious to me, because my oldest daughter has been asking for a butterfly net for a while now. I’d been blowing her off, assuming no such thing was in existence. Now the girls and I amble down the grassy hill to the river bank most every morning and I watch them run in circles and catch the occasional butterfly. They shriek excitedly when they trap one and then stare in wonder as it flutters inside the net, before they set it free.

Another inexpensive experience is dancing. I play some of the girls’ favorite songs and we sing along and bust a move around the kitchen or living room, their skirts twirling as they spin, wide grins morphing into tiny giggles and then explosive laughter as I pick them up and throw them in the air.

Our favorite nighttime ritual is catching fireflies — or lightning bugs — whichever label you prefer. We eagerly gaze into the fading daylight around us until it is finally dark out and we spot the sporadic flashes of illumination. When a firefly lands in one of our palms, we watch it light up a few times before releasing it back into the vast darkness.

The kids and I have also found pleasure in painting, coloring, going to the park, engaging in library activities and swimming in the pools of those we are fortunate enough to know who invite us over. We also make a tent out of blankets and furniture in the living room, blow bubbles outside, paint our fingernails and bake brownies and cookies. Daddy also likes to take the girls farming with him.
Although we might not have superfluous funding to participate in a lot of expensive activities, it’s caused us to pay attention to the little things. And my kids don’t seem to notice the difference. We’re not at amusement parks or museums every day — the places I would like to take them on a regular basis — but if we don’t make it there every few weeks, I think we’ll be okay.

So while living on a tight budget seems pretty grim, like when I think about my cell phone that is junk (dropped it in Kool-Aid a while back and it hasn’t been up to par ever since) or my laptop that needs fixed (again), my credit card balance, or the fact that we live in a tiny apartment, I try to zone in on what is the bright side: the smiles on my children’s faces when we’re doing sand art; the squeals of laughter erupting from their lips when they catch butterflies; the warm fuzzy feeling I get when they give me hugs and kisses.
And that, my friends, is priceless.

Sara Berelsman lives in Fort Jennings with her husband and their two daughters. She will actually have started a new job as this goes to print. No matter what, she is always grateful to have her writing.


Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 3:46 PM

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