It’s almost turkey time in the States.
While I understand the holiday’s roots are questionable, and holidays in general can be a difficult time for people, I always find myself awash with gratitude this time of year.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I’m grateful for and why I feel that gratitude. And one of the things that I keep coming back to is the idea of learning. Lessons are important. They can also be really painful, especially the kinds of lessons are hard fought and hard won with no kid gloves in sight.
You know what I’m talking about.
The aspects of the life that you just kind of have to live. The experiences that you need to have for yourself rather than simply accepting someone’s word for it.
I don’t want to diminish my hard work or glamorize hardships. But I do think that it’s important to hold onto the money lessons you’ve learned and appreciate them. It’s too easy to forget. It’s too easy to lose sight of the in-between and along-the-way. It’s too easy to expect life to move in a straight line otherwise.
RELATED POST: To Anyone Who is Learning That Progress Isn’t a Line
The processes were painful. It was hard to make sense of them while they were happening. But I do feel a sense of gratitude for having pushed my way through and for being able to mine them for lessons now.
My first awful boss.
I haven’t written about it on the blog before, but I kept a journal at the time. (So what I’m saying is that I actually own a future best-selling novel.) I sold makeup at the mall, and it felt like a dream. I was good at it (I hit my sales goal every single day), I had fun with it, and the pay was bananas (a few bucks above minimum wage plus commission on every sale). But my boss was wretched. She taught me the importance of standing my ground and helped me realize that even your dream job isn’t going to be perfect. Oh, and I learned how to write a really kick-ass resignation letter to HR when I gave my two weeks notice.
My unpaid maternity leave.
While I have yet to write the full post (I keep telling myself I won’t publish it until I can edit calmly), just sorting out my maternity leave was hard and the pay cut was painful. But I wouldn’t trade a second of it. Not only did it give me invaluable time with my baby, but it really pushed me to help other people in my real life with money. I hadn’t ever really figured out how to make that happen in real life prior to my leave, and now I share all of my numbers (and email rigamarole) with moms-to-be to help them make sense of their options.
The tens of thousands of dollars that I wasted on stuff.
It’s hard for me to confront my clutter. For years, I struggled with weighing sunk cost versus reselling versus time. Only now do I feel like I am really starting to get the hang of what to part with and how to do in a way that feels efficient and satisfying. I still have things that I need to get rid of. But it’s helping me learn to share the abundance in my life. Plus, this entire process is helping me love my home more than HGTV ever did.
The advice I ignored.
It’s true. At the risk of getting that song stuck in your head, I really do feel a sense of gratitude for the good advice that I continue to reject.
via GIPHY (English teacher PSA: This isn’t actually ironic.)
I’ve done so many things that go against conventional personal finance wisdom. Expensive wedding? Check. First birthday party for a baby that resulted in a bounce house rental? Check. Talking about the emotions of money? Check. Insisting that I can make my passion my job now and still chase FI? Check, check, check. It’s hard to make different choices. It’s why we follow the Joneses in the first place. I used to be really quiet about these things, but now I’m realizing that sharing what makes finance personal for me is…kind of the point.
RELATED POST: 3 Reasons I Should Turn in My PF Card
Final Thoughts on Gratitude & Money Lessons
A big reason why I’m able to reflect on these money struggles is because of the personal finance community. There is so much collective wisdom online. More than that, there are incredibly amazing people. Readers and bloggers who comment on this site, interact with me on social media, and share their own ideas in other ways are truly fundamental parts of any success that I have. I am beyond grateful for this online community. So let’s bring it in for a group hug.
OK, now out of my way. There’s green bean casserole and some green Jello with my name on it.
So Tell Me…Do you have any money lessons that you’re grateful you learned (even if it was the hard way)?