Wednesday, March 08, 2017


One of my Wants was "Be Financially Secure". I have had to really rethink it.

It is right above "Be Able to Give" on the list, because that is very important to me and they felt linked. It is not the only reason I wanted financial security, because I want things too, like travel. Also I have needs, and there is an abject fear that comes with not knowing how you are going to pay for your medication or keep a roof over your head. But also, other people want and need things, and they can feel that same fear, and I want to be able to step in with that.

I already wrote about being able to give. I can't find which post it was now, but I remember part of my discovery was a reminder that there are things to give besides money. Giving time and kindness has value, and I was doing good things despite being broke. I still desired financial security and I would be really generous then, but at least there were things I could do while I was waiting.

I have not become more financially secure. I have blown through all of my unemployment, and cashed out my 401K, and sometimes it feels like we are bleeding money.

Cashing out the 401K represents a loss of future security, beyond the current concerns. At the same time, some of the best things have happened because of it. That's why I could take Mom to Disneyland and could have my birthday retreat. That's why we could finally replace the couch and have adequate seating.

I know it will run out, and there could be a time when I am an impoverished senior (though my mother only has Social Security). It felt like the right thing to do at the time, perhaps helped by the apparent uncertainty of any future under this administration.

There have been certain ironies. My vision board is still hanging above my monitor. There are things there that represent money, but there were also five travel things. I have been to Disneyland this year. I am going to Italy in May, with layovers in Amsterdam and Rome. The Amsterdam layover is from 9 PM to 9 AM, so I don't think I will be doing any tourist things, but still, I will be there. Perhaps something I can't see now will send me to the Grand Canyon and Atlanta.

At one point during all of this, it occurred to me that financial security just wasn't going to be an option. I wasn't thrilled with that, but I have come to feel better about it. There are two main things that have been factors.

One is that I have started seeing some real abundance in unexpected places. One of them was Disneyland. When I go with my sisters we stay at a place that includes continental breakfast; this didn't. I worried about the expense of buying breakfast, but also of getting Mom ready to go in the morning, so I brought some food along.

It was just six bagels and six granola bars, but it lasted so well and then other things kept coming up. Suddenly there was butter and jam for the bagels. We bought food in the park, but between things lasting and sharing and a couple of gift cards, we really didn't spend that much. It was kind of amazing.

Since then I have been seeing that with groceries too - finding good deals and having things last and go further than I would expect. It makes it easier to trust that needs and wants will be provided in good time.

In addition, I started to see where wanting to be secure might make me less able to give. I have often felt a sense of guilt when I did make donations. I would see the need, and it felt important to give, so I would, but I would be thinking how it was wrong of me and I couldn't afford it and worrying I would regret it later.

As I started to calculate what financial security would mean, the numbers kept rising. It would mean no debt and some savings, but the amount of savings kept creeping up. I am sure some of that is because I don't have regular income now, but just the fact that I don't is a reminder that continued income is not guaranteed. There are enough things that can go wrong that it's kind of an illusion. Feeling that led to some fear that was going to make me kind of stingy. Hoarding doesn't help anyone.

I'm not saying that this situation is tenable for everyone, but it came through some pretty specific circumstances that I don't wish on anyone.

For me, where I am now, I can live with this. There are a lot of things I can't predict, but there have been many times when I had things worked out and the math was laughably wrong. I know what I need to do is this moment of my life, and will do that.

Something will come next.

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