Learn To Let Go

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Tim and I raised three boys who graduated from high school, are all in college (one already in grad school… woohoo!) and are pretty amazing men if I do say so myself. I tell you this so that hopefully you will hear what I am about to say. There are some things that you should JUST… LET… GO. Now if you are raising girls, I got nothing. Sorry! (But I have a cool friend, Annie Downs http://www.annieblogs.com/ who has an amazing blog for young women.)

When it comes to the men in your life, there are some things that you should just let go. Like hair length. Our boys could have hair as long as they wanted so long as it was clean. Seriously, if you’re afraid your friends or people at church are going to judge you because your boys have long hair, you REALLY need new friends or a new church (last time I checked, my Bible didn’t mention hair length…just sayin.) Is it going to matter in ten years that your son had long hair when he was a junior in high school? And how awesome is it going to be to show his wife-to-be those embarrassing pics! Why not let your son express some independence in a way that is safe? (I’ve yet to hear of someone getting seriously hurt by the length of his hair.) Same goes for facial hair in my book… LET IT GO!

Only one of my sons was a clothes addict. The other two, blue jeans and a tee made them happy (heck, athletic shorts and a tee made them ecstatic!) but for years I tried to force them into khaki’s and collared shirts causing us all to be unhappy. When one day my husband (who is the farthest thing possible from a clothes horse!) caused me to realize, if others don’t like what my boys have on and judge them as bad kids because of that, then I’m sorry for them because my boys are great students, grounded in their faith and just plain good people. Who cares what they wear? And just FYI, one of those non-dressers now voluntarily wears a shirt and bowtie to work every day.

When my oldest was two, my dad looked at me and said, “Pick your battles. You’ll realize how little of this will matter when he is grown.” It took us some time to grasp this but when we did, it was game on! So the next time we see you and your family, don’t worry about how long your hair is or what you have on… cause we won’t even notice.

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Happy New Year’s Eve Eve

It’s New Year’s Eve Eve which is one of my favorite days of the year. Why? No pressure… nobody asks about my plans for the day or the night, football is on, no need to dress up and typically I’m enjoying my Christmas decorations knowing they are about to come down. Also, no one asks about my New Year’s resolution. Good thing too because I don’t make one any more.

Years ago my resolutions would either be exercise more, eat/drink better or get organized. I know, not very original and they typically didn’t pan out after more than a few weeks…at most. But like the rest of the free world, I know the beginning of a new year is a time for fresh starts, a reset button on your life if you will but I also think that brings way too much pressure. Why not just take the New Year and use it embrace who you are. Why must I be organized as long as I know where my stuff is? Who cares if my house looks slightly less than HGTV worthy? If I am content with my caffeine intake why should I feel pressure to change that? (hello… I don’t like the taste of water and going cold turkey drinking only water is not going to change that.) To me it all boils down to this: am I really doing it for the right reason if the only reason is that I feel like I’m supposed to??

Years ago I was telling my dad about someone who I didn’t think liked me. He then pretty much changed my life by saying, “Well Wendy, I’m sorry for them because you’re a pretty great person and they’re missing out.” Wow!! What dad made me realize was that I am who I am and there is no reason to change that… unless I want to.

But just to change things up, maybe I will give in to the pressure and make a New Year’s resolution this year. I resolve to stress less about things I have no control over and be more present in each and every moment. Or maybe I’ll resolve to read more books. Yeah! Let’s go with that last one… its one I’m sure I can keep!!

Chasing Legal Tender

(Note from my oldest the day I retired)

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When you have three sons in college, you spend a fair amount of time going over your finances. (no, their clothes don’t cost as much as girls, but HELLO feeding them is expensive!!)  There are tons of things that need to be paid for, everything from tuition to books to gas. There are the little things you might forget about (like parking permits) and the big things you can’t help be remember (like housing.) The funny thing is that because of all the time I spend budgeting, paying and stretching funds, I find that I spend a lot more time thinking about money than I would like. Which leads me down the trail of chasing legal tender.

Most people have a job either full or part time that helps them to pay the bills that we all accrue by living. Some people are fortunate to LOVE their jobs, while others all but DESPISE what they do. My father always told me when I was younger, you can make money doing something you love just as easy as you can make money doing something you hate. There have been plenty of years when we’ve barely made enough to get by but because Tim and/or I were loving our job those were some of the best times of our life. There have also been years when we’ve made way more than enough but were miserable because one of us was hating what we were doing. How funny that you can really only see this in retrospect. At the time, you convince yourself that it’s just because you have a new boss or because your responsibilities have changed and you are still learning or whatever you had to tell yourself to keep getting up and going to work day after day after day. Until one day you realize that you’ve sold your soul for a stack of paper money that buys you no happiness. That was the day I realized it was time to “retire”… yep, one year before we were to have two in college… two years before we were to have three in college. (Oops!!)

You can imagine my surprise when my husband suggested that I “retire” because work was making me so miserable. I realized I was miserable, but was mortified to realize that my entire family knew I was miserable (guess I don’t have much of a poker face after all!) Well people, it was like a million pound boulder rolled off my back. I had no idea how weighed down I was by what most people would classify as a dream job. It wasn’t the job that was bad, by no means, it was simply that the price I was being required to pay was for me TOO HIGH!

And that’s the real rub. We are the only ones that can determine what price we are willing to pay. For me, there was not enough money in the world to make up for the time I was missing from my family. This last year and a half has been an amazing blessing! The old saying “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone” applies to stress too. I feel years younger, pounds lighter and way more well-read!!! Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying run out and quit your job if you’re unhappy (your spouse would hunt me down!!) What I am saying is take a step away and weigh the price you are paying. Is it worth it? Only you can answer that, but one thing I do know, you can make money doing something you love just as easy as you can make money doing something you hate. Thanks dad!!