Tell The Joneses To Go To Hell, They’ll Respect You For It


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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.

About Travis

28 Responses to “Tell The Joneses To Go To Hell, They’ll Respect You For It”

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  1. Word Travis! I love that line too about what people’s opinions of you are is none of your business. Follow your own heart brotha! 🙂

    • Travis says:

      Making other people happy – which can never be accomplished – takes an extraordinary amount of time and energy. I’d rather use the same time and energy to ensure I AM happy! Thanks for reading, Tonya!

  2. Keith says:

    The meme you refer to is DEAD ON. I’ve said for years, if you aren’t the person either paying my bills or sleeping under my roof, your opinion really doesn’t count for much. As long as you are doing what is best for you and your family, that is all that matters.

    • Travis says:

      Hells yeah, Keith – concentrate on what is important. I heard a quote from a motivational speaker recently that said, “True happiness in life comes from being the person you want to be.” So, that excludes the need to be what other people think you should be.

  3. Kim says:

    Once you quit caring what other people think, it’s much easier to be the person you need and want to be. It took me a long time to figure that out, but I really don’t care if people think my couch is ratty or my shoes are old. You’re right that it’s much more rewarding to be out of debt and saving for the future.

  4. Love this, Travis! So proud of you and Vonnie for knowing and honoring your priorities regardless of what others may think. We can get so caught up in other’s opinions and forget to live for ourselves. I’ve always said life is the culmination of the choices we make and it sounds like you know what choices will make your life wonderful.

    • Travis says:

      My favorite motivational speaker, Eric Thomas, says this: “The most important thing is this: To be able, at any moment, to sacrifice what we are, for what we could be.” When I think about what it will feel like to cross the finish line of my next marathon with a personal best….or when I think of being able to retire with enough saved to never worry about money. Tears in the eyes…….it means too much to me to make choices that will not help me achieve those goals. Thanks for your comment, Shannon!

  5. I’m asked all the time why I don’t buy a newer car. I usually respond by saying, “My 95 Saturn gets me where I need to be just fine.” They may not appreciate my old car but they probably envy me not having a car payment.

  6. Michelle says:

    Believing in what you’re doing for yourself 100% is when you know that you’ve made a profound mental change when you don’t give a crap about what other people think. They aren’t responsible for you-so why would you give other people power by caring what they think and allowing that to dictate what your actions are? Love this post!

    • Travis says:

      Next time I hear someone giving me “advice” on what I should do….I’m going to ask if they’re willing to pitch in. LOL.

  7. Sounds like you didn’t have to tell the Jonses to go anywhere. They accepted your choice with respect. There is something to be said for choosing the right Jonses.

    • Travis says:

      Exactly right, Prudence….although I think with any group of people, it’s about two things: Their respect for you, AND your steadfastness, or your own level of commitment. Others can sense when you’re wishy washy. In college I had some friends that, uh, well….may have been consumers of some illegal substances. They asked me to do it with them. had I said, “nah, maybe some other time” and been noncommittal about it, they likely would have rode me and given me crap about it. I saw it happen to others. But I sternly said, “I’ve never done that, I’m not going to do that, and I never will do that. That’s not who I want to be.” Not only did they not give me a hard time about it, but they never asked me again.

  8. Chris says:

    This is awesome! It’s so true and so candid – go to hell Jonesies! Love the quote too! Keep pushing out posts like these – they’re fun and just plain awesome!

    • Travis says:

      Thanks, Chris – glad you enjoyed it. The idea came to me during my morning run, and I just had to throw it down in a post. I love it when that happens – thanks for reading!

  9. All about what makes us happy and content. I thing I’ll go find that meme and post it on facebook. 🙂

  10. The worst is people who don’t respect your decisions. I’m a vegetarian and meat eaters always try to “tempt” me with meat. The reality is, I’m not the least bit tempted, I’m just annoyed.

    • Travis says:

      That’s just rude that they would continue to try to make you go against how you want to live your life. People should respect how you want to live your life and support you instead!

  11. We are the same way! I don’t care if my kids have iPads or smartphones. I want to help them through college and be able to retire early. Who cares what people think? Not me!

    • Travis says:

      You and Greg are great role models, Holly….you’re giving them the right perspective and environment to learn everything they need to handle their finances the right way!

  12. Love this. It’s important to simply be who you are, and not worry what others think. It’s true of finances and so much more. I notice this especially at the gym. If the person on the treadmill next to me is going twice as fast, or half as fast, I just remind myself that my situation is different than theirs…they may not be dealing with the same struggles I am, or they may be dealing with other struggles I can’t see. Do the best you can for yourself.

    • Travis says:

      Great analogy, Gary. When I go to the gym, I try to put on blinders…..there’s always someone that can lift more, or run faster. Fitness is a journey to do the very best YOU can do with your own resources and skills…..the exact same thing is true of finances!

  13. “The reaction didn’t matter because we know we are making the right choice for us.” AWESOME, Travis. Good for you guys. 🙂 I haven’t had a drink in 8+ years. Don’t miss it a bit. Love the health/financial benefits. 🙂

    • Travis says:

      I agree Laurie – I was hoping to make it to my marathon on 6/20 without drinking. I broke down and had a celebratory glass of wine with a coworker a dinner last weekend. Could have done without it….didn’t do anything for me. Lesson learned, I KNOW what is best for me, and I just need to stick to it!

  14. Elizabeth Mary Jackson-Brench says:

    Our kids graduating debt free from college is very important, we have 3 currently at college and one who has finished university in England (oxford). And it’s been very easy to manage it for us. Debt free out of college is one of our main goals for our kids and we’ve achieved it, which is something we’re very proud of.

    • Travis says:

      That’s a great accomplishment… that will affect your kids for the rest of their lives. They get to start off their adult life on the right foot – congrats!

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