It’s taken me over 41 years of walking this earth, but I’m finally getting a grip on the person I want to be. It’s been building for awhile, but my perspective was reinforced at a gathering with friends over the weekend.
It was our monthly gourmet club get together, which is basically a modified potluck. The host picks the theme and prepares the main course, and the rest of the guests bring an appetizer, side dish, or dessert that matches the theme. It’s a great group of friends, and we always have a lot of fun. It’s also an event at which adult beverages flow freely.
That last detail is a bit of a sticking point for Vonnie and I, as we have given up alcohol for the time being. We’re both doing as part of an effort to to shed a few pounds, and for me it’s also about being at tip top condition each and every day for my marathon training. We wondered if it would be weird going to the party and not drinking. We wondered what the reaction would be.
It didn’t take long for our lack of alcohol consumption to be noticed. We explained what we were doing and why. A few people gave us some words of encouragement, and that was the end of it. The night continued, and a great time was had by all.
I don’t recall anything else being said about the matter. To be honest I don’t remember thinking about it at all after that short interaction. The reality is that Vonnie and I are so confident in the reasons we are following this path that we didn’t require approval, and therefore didn’t seek it by analyzing the expressions on the faces of our friends or the tone of their reaction.
The reaction didn’t matter because we know we are making the right choice for us.
In the same way, we’re finding it easier and easier to ignore “the Joneses.” It’s not difficult to walk around someone’s house and see carpeting, a home theater, or some furniture that we like. We’re reminded that our carpeting and furniture is showing signs of wear. We look at an unused room and visualize a home theater remodel. But we know that it’s less expensive to clean our carpet, and the furniture still works. We know that even though a home theater room would be super cool, right now the cost does not justify the amount of use we’d get from it.
We know that by delaying upgrades to our home will enable us to save money to help our kids through college, and to save for our future. We know that making the things we have last as long as possible enables us to have more breathing room in our monthly budget, which right now feels spectacular.
I don’t care if people come in my home, and see a spot here or there in the carpet, or see the wear and tear on our furniture. If someone happens to mention it, the answer is easy; we’ve got better uses for the money right now. I know that we are making the right decision for us, and I’m at peace with that. I don’t need anyone’s approval for my happiness.
I saw a great meme on facebook recently that read, “What other people think of me is none of my business.”
I don’t want to be the guy that drinks all night and then brags about how crappy they feel the next day. I want to be the guy that has fun with his friends, and then brags about running 10 miles the next morning.
I don’t want to be the guy who buys a bunch of materialistic stuff and then shows it to all my friends. I want to be the guy that can help my kids through college with only the satisfaction that they graduate debt free. I want to be the guy that sleeps peacefully at night because I know my future is taken care of.
Be strong in your convictions, and stick with them. Take action on what is right for you. Tell the Joneses where they can go. They’ll respect you for it.