Every year, I end my summer with a trip south to get in some quality time with my family, and enjoy some much needed ‘me time.’  It has always been one of the highlights of my year, and since becoming a mom myself, the time has become even more special.  I am able to do all that I love in selfish abundance.  I write; read; have my morning coffee outdoors; do yoga almost eerr’ damn day; wear no make-up; whip around town with wash and wear hair; crack funnies and drink wine with my favorite wine buddy (my mom); and watch my son experience a true southern lifestyle replete with beautiful magnolia trees, horses, parks, pools, and all of the ripping and running around outdoors that his little legs can handle.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I know that that is just what happens when vacation is treating us right.  We wonder if this is how life is meant to be?  We ask ourselves why aren’t we living every day like this?  We find ourselves all in our feelings about the regularly scheduled life that awaits us once vacation is over.  At least I do.

But of all these fleeting questions, the one that persists for me is: why aren’t you living every day like this?

And the answer is always the same.  Money.  There I said it.

Cash money.

Ends.

Bands.

However you want to say it is exactly what I mean.

Unless you are a retiree, or perhaps a business owner, in many southern regions, the money that a northerner is accustomed to making is just not available.  Now don’t get wrong, I am no super high earner by any means.  I make a decent living and I supplement that decent living as much and as often as I possibly can.  Living in a place like New York, readily reminds that ‘a good living’ is completely relative (I thought I made a ‘good living’ until I was slapped silly with a reality stick after taking my son for a play date at the home of a hedge fund investor–now THAT is some GOOD living).  Whereas most people in the very city in which my mother lives, would grow wide-eyed in amazement of my income.  So what is considered ‘enough money’ or a ‘good living’ is clearly decided by the beholder.

If I am to be honest though, money matters to me.  Alot.  I am not obsessed with it.  Nor am I willing to sacrifice my overall peace of mind, physical health, or enjoyment of life for it, but it does matter to me.  Meeting all of my family’s basic needs matters.  One day being debt-free matters.  Where we live and how we live matters.  That my family is able to travel and explore the world matters. The quality of education and experiences that I am able to give my son matters the most.    

But so does setting my eyes on nature’s beauty each day.  And feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin.  And seeing people smile and go about their day in a non-manic way.  And having the space that apartment living does not afford.  And drinking my morning coffee, or sipping wine, or writing (as I am this very blog post) amidst fresh country air.  All of these things also matter to me.

So, again, I ask myself: Is it about quality or quantity in life?

Perhaps all this time I’ve been asking the wrong question.  Maybe it is not an ‘either/or’ answer, but rather a ‘both/and’ answer. 

Who says that a girl can’t have it all? 

Or, at the very least, strive to have as much of it as her heart desires.

4 thoughts

  1. You pose an interesting question. One that has been on my mind as I race towards retirement, getting closer to turning 60 and begin a new phase of my Life. I’ve been thinking about finding somewhere cheaper to live other than New York but on the other hand this is where my brother lives so I cannot be too far from him. Also I no longer drive so Southern Living would not suit me. I need to be in a city with 24/7/365 public transportation. Plus New York has a large variety of services and programs for 60+ people. One does not find that in other cities. I’m still in the early phases of my retirement research but I will be looking into retirement communities maybe in upstate New York where I can still take a train to see Stephen. Or when I reach 62 there is Senior Housing. Money or the lack of it in my case will determine my next living situation. Many material goods and services that meant something to me when I was younger now mean nothing. However on the plus side of being a lower-income person I’ve learned to live very frugally and am thankful that New York offers many Free events and activities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I, too, think about not only how I want my life to be now, but also during retirement years. I know that when I am retired I want no snow, no hustle and bustle, and no urban environment. I want the complete opposite. But you raise a good point. Later in life my wants will have to be in accord with my physical condition, income, my family’s physical proximity, my ability to drive, etc. Decisions, decisions for all of us . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There is certainly a common-ground in marrying our dreams/wishes/aspirations… with practicality. Sacrifice will dictate how we conquer the money aspect of finding this common-ground. What we CAN sacrifice or are WILLING to sacrifice is relative. Great answer to the question….they both count.

    Liked by 1 person

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