On What Joy Means For You

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So what’s more important than $$$, you say? Great question! Parsing the ins and outs of this can be awfully confusing, since so many of the things I value (eating quality food, spending time with my husband and kids, traveling) are all related to the Almighty Dollar. How do I reconcile this with actively rejecting the concept of finding my sense of security in my bottom line? I’m still figuring this out.

One thing I find important is reminding myself that this moment in which I exist is the only “guarantee” I have. I’m not promised a tomorrow. And as a medical student, and now a resident, I have become an expert in delaying gratification, which research shows may actually work against me in some circumstances. I want to believe that the experience of joy is available to all despite our financial situation, and I can tell you the activities that I find most restorative are ones that don’t cost much or any money: walking in the morning with my kids, making healthy food, playing games with my husband, reading books, learning a new skill, building relationships with friends and neighbors, taking care of my patients.

So here we are, at the beginning of our journey to understand our financial life, and I want to pause to ask you and me to take the next few days and really think about all the things in your life that you value that don’t involve money.Writing this post reminded me of one of my favorite articles from the student newspaper at my undergraduate institution written by Humza Chaudhry: “I suggest an exercise. Lie down, wherever you can find the nearest clean place, and look straight up. Be still. You are now dead. Your money doesn’t go with you. Your mom, dad, sisters, brothers, girlfriends, boyfriends and kids have left you ashes to ashes, dust to dust and you are alone with nothing but your own soul, your accomplishments and blunders–and, whether you like it or not, God, but we won’t deal with that now. If you had one more hour to live, what would you do? What if you had a day, week, month or year? What about 10 years? Ask yourself, in the peaceful and still paralysis of death, does that car or job matter now? What does your mother think of you? Will people feel the burden of your loss or will they lose a burden by it? Glory be to the one who gave us all a measured-out life, and by his greatest of names I swear to you that anything you are attached to now, which did not come up within the first 15 seconds of your pseudo-passing from this world is a waste of your time.”

If you had to sit down and write out what your top three values are–things that you want expressed in your daily lifestyle–what would they be?  Am I in denial when I both reject the concept of the supreme importance of money while at the same time devoting a blog to it? I might need your help in maintaining perspective and self-awareness concerning these matters as we continue on. But right now, my joys are calling me and I must go  ❤

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Author: Diana Boss

I am a resident physician in dermatology, living with my husband and our two little ones in the southern USA.

4 thoughts on “On What Joy Means For You”

  1. I love your list of restorative activities. I am totally with you on that. It is always the time I spend building relationships with people that I value most (like when I came for a visit and we had our sister date!!). I do have to admit that I love activities that require some moolah though – such as going out for a nice meal, making something fancy, or going to the movies. These things can be done without though… I’m excited to read more of your thoughts on money and finances. I really love your writing, Ashley. You are such a ray of sunshine. I hope you can find the time to post even amidst your busy, busy schedule! XOXO

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    1. Hi Abbs, that visit with you is something I will treasure forever. And I am certainly fond of activities that require money, too, and I don’t think that’s a cardinal sin or anything. For me, clarifying my values and priorities helps me know where I’m going to splurge–for example, quality time with my family is important to me, so I’m willing to spend more money on rent so I can live in a central location and have a much shorter commute. That’s just one of several examples I could give. I don’t want acquiring money to be what dictates every thing I do, I just want to make sure that where I am spending my money is actually in line with who I am and what I believe. Thanks so much for your lovely comment, and I hope that I am not implying anyone should feel guilty for spending money on luxuries that they love, enjoy and find fulfilling or restorative. I love to hear your thoughts on all this stuff–I do think you’re someone who has done and experienced a lot in a really fiscally responsible way!!!!

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  2. I see you’re keeping it grounded just like usual! I’d say my three top values are building healthy relationships and community, pursuing learning and growth, and enjoying and creating beauty. Some of the things I enjoy the most are just being active outdoors and having good conversations with people, which are things that don’t usually cost money (unless you guys start charging me per minute of quality time! jk jk). I think that as long as I make enough money to support my basic needs, there are a lot of things I could go without in order to have enough time for living in a way that doesn’t feel like I’m enslaved to work. Which is part of why learning to manage money well makes so much sense! But since work is such a huge part of life I’m also trying to figure out how I can incorporate these values into career pursuits. I don’t function super well when I am doing work that I don’t feel is meaningful, so I want to factor my values into my career choice and not just spending.

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    1. Aw shucks! Thanks for this sweet comment, Pandy. I especially love that creating beauty is part of your top three daily values. I actually was just thinking yesterday about what a special thing it was that YOU created the dress I wore at my wedding. I learned a lot about living on a budget from you when we were living together! You can make some masterful meals on literally cents. I hope that some of what I’m gleaning regarding my financial education will prove useful to you (Lord knows you deserve it, after getting paid 2 cents/hr to nanny my girl 😉

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