One of my more pronounced therapy teachings is, “The child ego state is capable of an ever-escalating level of ‘needs.’”
Disconnecting the psycho-babble, that generally decodes into “kids always want more stuff.”
When I was young, after pestering relentlessly my dad for the latest whiz-bam thingamajig that “all the other kids have,” his reply oft times was, “Why don’t you go out back and pick a few dollars off the money tree and go buy one?”
“What money tree?”
“Yep, you figured it out. Smart boy.” In effect, a wise guy way of saying, “We don’t have any money. No.”
Sixty years later, I still worry about money at the drop of a hat.
Some schoolings don’t leave. I am still praying for a money tree.
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s expensive making it through the current day-to-day.
Between overseeing a household, raising kids (whether two or four-legged), entertainment, and home repairs (let alone trying to save for a rainy day), it’s getting so that take home pay can barely survive the trip.
Within the last short period, at our abode, we’ve witnessed exorbitant hikes in health insurance premiums – as well as cable, water, and garbage bills. Getting out of the grocery store for our weekly shopping trip without dropping a Franklin is pert-near impossible. The latest bomb shell to land in our economic lap was yesterday, when our power bill — normally in the range of $150 to $200 this time of year — exploded to $342! Truth be told, we live in an older house. Yet, in our defense, the heater is set at 62 degrees daytime and off at night. We wear more sweaters than Mister Rogers, and we turn off lights like we’re a twosome of vampires. Nothing has changed in our usage; nonetheless our monthly invoice virtually doubled.
While in better financial shape than some – we are not at all, “wealthy.”
Sure, we pay our bills on time; even socking away a few bucks for an ever-closer retirement. We dine out a couple of times a month, and — once a year or so — go on a week’s vacation. The unrelenting drum beat of rate hikes is having impact. We are taking pen to paper to cut costs; but there’s only so much one can eliminate, right? Get me to a money tree, stat!
So, when the power bill escalates surprisingly, I blow a gasket.
“How are we going to pay this?” I shout at no one in particular. “I can’t keep absorbing these rate hikes!” From ground level calm peacefulness, I launch into the upper stratosphere of anxiety quicker than one could turn down the thermostat.
In my philosophical teaching, one reaps that which he thinks about. (Call it the “law of attraction” if you need a milepost to guide you.) If I repeatedly think and feel, “We’re never going to be able to pay our bills,” guess what? Sure ‘nough, we won’t. Whether or not you believe in this philosophy, there can be no argument that unquestionably it won’t help anything to wig out over something, will it? PG&E won’t accept emotional angst as currency nor will the supermarket drop its prices to alleviate my trepidations. Oh yes, that health insurance bill I mentioned? Stressing over expenses is a sure-fire way to get to test the limits of said health insurance as they rush you to the hospital with chest pains.
If freaking out was an income source, I don’t think I’d be the only one who would be rich beyond his dreams.
I get it; I’m not naive. No one enjoys higher costs; you won’t find a bet safer than that at any casino. I also recognize that you and I could exchange many more words than this column is allowed in discussing methods and ideas to deal with rising rates. So, I’m not dismissing the reality in which so many of us exist; my goal here is to remind us all – mostly myself – that if we spend our time worrying about tomorrow, it won’t change it. Worry is interest on a debt not yet owed. More importantly, it robs us of anticipation of tomorrow. Additionally, spending our todays distressing about tomorrow also fleeces us of the NOW, the only time that actually exists.
No future, no present; truly nothing is worth that price.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com. He is available for coaching, speaking, and reminders of what really matters at 707.834.4090 or firstname.lastname@example.org.