Is Your Soul Craving Simplicity?
So, I did something the other day that I've never done. While it isn't exactly earth-shattering, it was still a pretty big deal. Why? I'm so glad you asked. It was a last minute decision and it was oh, so worth it!
I walked home from work. I told you it wasn't earth-shattering. It's about 4 1/2 miles, yet oh, so needed. While my daughter called me to tell me it was 90 degrees outside and she feared for my life, I can tell you that it wasn't quite that hot and I definitely lived to tell the story (LOL).
I had my gym bag with me, fully ready with workout gear, so it wasn't like I trekked the 4 1/2 miles in heels. I was perfectly comfortable and ready with my running shoes.
Everyday, I talk to women across the country who are dealing with a major life event, whether it be a divorce, becoming a widow or unexpectedly losing her job. Some of the stories I hear are heart-wrenching and there are times I'm crying on the phone right along with them.
This past Friday afternoon, I really needed to clear my head and walking home was the perfect way to do it. No headphones. Just me, the Colorado sunshine and my thoughts on a casual walk home.
It's amazing how the distractions of the world fall away with no headphones or social media to distract me. Like I said, just me and my thoughts.
It took a good 2 1/2 miles for me to decompress from the week to the point where I wasn't angry, upset or hurting any more. I mean, it still boggles my mind how, in this country, we can have so many women in financial distress.
Once I was finally able to let go of the week, I was able to clear my mind and allow my thoughts to wander. If you've ever been walking on the beach with the sound of the ocean coming to shore, or on a trail in the woods with the breeze through the trees or if you're a runner, you know what I mean about how thoughts and ideas start pouring in. It's times like those I wish I had a pen and paper, ya know? Somebody invent something for that, ok?
Unlike my ride home, which is usually a rush to get home, so I can rush to workout, so I can rush home to dinner, so I can rush to get things done after dinner, my 4 1/2 mile walk (1 hr and 37 minutes) was unhurried...intentionally. I had intentionally created simplicity.
And That's When it Hit Me
We've become a society that if you don't have more, be more or do more, then you're considered to be living in mediocrity. I say nonsense. And that's when it hit me.
My soul craves simplicity in ALL areas of my life, including my finances.
I believe you can live a bigger game, if you so choose, and keep it simple. As a matter of fact, I believe you HAVE to create simplicity in order to focus on the things important to you and that includes your finances. You just have to define what a bigger game means to you.
Does Home Ownership Create Complexity?
If I hadn't said it before, I do not own my home. I'm a renter. I rent this beautiful 3 bedroom house with 2 car garage and perfectly-sized backyard. My rent is $300 a month less than what my mortgage was on the house I built (and subsequently lost after 2008). Life happens.
If I were to listen to every finance and real estate 'expert', they would tell me that I HAVE to buy because I'm paying for someone else's investment. I say, 'so what?' I have to live somewhere, right?
If an appliance breaks down, or if the house needs a new roof, garage door, etc., I call my landlord. No, I don't own this house. I also don't have all the financial and emotional responsibilities of home ownership, either. And, if you have a mortgage, technically, you don't own your house, either. The bank does until you pay off the mortgage. (We'll continue that conversation other day)
One new roof and there goes my trip to Europe, know what I mean?
Plus, my landlord is a super cool guy who said, 'make it your home,' so I can pretty much do almost anything here for the house, yard, etc.
And at this time in my life, I'm totally ok with it. I'm on the verge of becoming an empty nester. My freedom is on the horizon and I don't want to be tied down with all that comes with owning a house.
For the record, I've been a homeowner in the past, twice. We bought a house and built a house. If you're looking to add multiple layers of stress in your life, build a house. I will never do that again.
Simplicity and Complexity are in Conflict
I wasn't always OK with it, though. I've been conflicted, up until quite recently actually. But it was on this walk home when I realized when we create simplicity in our life and our finances is when we open the doors and make room for rediscovering our true selves, reigniting our passions and reinventing our lives on our terms.
When we are in conflict (i.e. do I buy or rent?), it prevents us from moving forward in making the decisions that are best for us by our standards and no one else's, especially not society's idea of what this time in our life should look like.
There's no shame in renting and for many women at this time in our lives, it can actually create simplicity.
So, how what are the financial strategies to create simplicity? I'm so glad you asked!
We'll be talking more about simplicity in our lives and finances in the days to come with specific action steps you can take to start that journey. Make sure you're subscribed to get the latest updates.
Until next time.
Patty Gale, CFEI, is a Certified Financial Educator and Financial Recovery Counselor for smart, fearless midlife women who don't have million dollar retirement accounts. She is the creator of the financial program, Rediscover, Reignite and Reinvent, which is redefining financial wellness for women 40+.