Some New Approaches to Life

I’m far from perfect – perhaps that’s why I don’t have New Year’s resolutions. I haven’t bothered thinking I’d follow through with them since I was about ten and I realized I couldn’t even keep a diary for 3 days, much less “be nicer” all year.

However, as I read so many entries, posts, updates, and whatever-elses about resolutions, I have been thinking about some of what MIGHT be called resolutions…if I could keep them. I’m fairly certain ‘good things’ is copyrighted by Martha Stewart, so I guess I’ll call them …

Things I’m trying (but don’t need to feel guilty about when I forget to try from time to time). Wait, that’s a horrible acronym.

Well, I guess the best way to put it would be to call them ‘approaches.’  Here are some of the recent approaches to life I’ve adopted.

Approach #1:

It’s OK that my house is messy. I’m still trying to organize it and keep it cleaner, but I have lots of other stuff going on, too. So cut the guilt and/or stress about it.

One of the approaches I’ve adopted is to be sure that I always put away at least one more thing than I took out. This is the sort of sustainable small change I can implement and remember. I’ve been trying this out for a few months now, and I’ll admit it would be going better if I remembered more frequently than ‘most of the time.’  Overall, though, it’s a low-key approach that keeps me tidier than doing nothing for long bouts followed by hours of tedious cleaning.

Approach #2:

Do the stuff I keep wanting to do and have no reason not to do. This means: trying for my crafty biz (seriously, if I had just one hour a week back from what I was spending online, loving other people’s shops, I’d have a decent little biz going right now), posting to the blog, doing things like going to the zoo or trying some of those DIY things on Pinterest.

Again, so far – going swimmingly. I’m posting to this blog fairly regularly, even though I never quite seem to have the pics I want ready or the little tutorials I have started are never quite finished… Because I got sick of waiting for that RIGHT TIME and the PERFECT POST.  I hopped online and in less than a week, I have a registered LLC, a federal tax ID, a state tax ID, and I’m scheduled to be in a craft fair on February 2nd.

One of the cutest ‘exhibits’ at the Minnesota Zoo yesterday. (There was a bit more snow yesterday…) (Photo boosted from MN Zoo website and not my work!)

Walked around the Minnesota Zoo yesterday with the kiddos and the boyfriend, and we all had a great time looking at the critters…including the tiger cubs and leopard cubs. SO. CUTE.

I hung the paper snowflakes on the mural of birch trees on my kitchen wall. I like them more than the beautiful matched-set glass ornaments I bought last year. Not bad for a few sheets of copy paper.

I hung the paper snowflakes on the mural of birch trees on my kitchen wall. I like them more than the beautiful matched-set glass ornaments I bought last year. Not bad for a few sheets of copy paper.

I cut out a bunch of paper snowflakes since I’d been wandering through Pinterest and came across some tuts for it and remembered how fun it was in elementary school…  It’s still fun. Lots of fun. 🙂  Wonderfully inexpensive Christmas / winter holiday decorations, and I get to keep them up at least through March if I don’t get sick of them first.

If only geometry class had been this pretty...

If only geometry class had been this pretty…

I also made a craft stick snowflake since I’d seen those around the ‘net as well, and then at my local art supply store. I meant to put glitter on it, but got busy with life and wound up hanging it as it was. I still think it’s pretty, as plain as it is. I plan to make more, though perhaps not ’til next year at this point. Putting this together brought me to appreciate geometric fabric designs much more, and makes me think I may need to play with some hexagon patterns soon.

Approach #3:

Eat the way I want to be eating more frequently.

I made a commitment to eating non-GMO, and while my store/co-op purchases are reflecting that, my lifestyle isn’t. I order pizza at least once a week from the local franchise…so tasty…and not a single ingredient I’d look at twice in the store. I find that I eat foods I crossed off of my list a long time ago much too often, and I get ill from them more easily lately.

I made beans and rice for dinner this evening. As we all know, it’s cheap, relatively healthy, and totally unglamorous. It tasted so good! And it honestly was easier than getting in my car, hopping on the freeway, and driving to and from the nearest drive-thru tex-mex place. I added a can of refried beans and a can of diced tomatoes to some still-hot rice (two cups dry), some chili powder, cumin, and salt, and that was it. We all added a dab of sour cream and a few dashes of hot sauce, and we all loved it.  Hurray for healthy(ish) cheap food!

And, this means breakfast tomorrow is cheap and easy. Leftover beans and rice + scrambled eggs = awesome!

Cultivating an Abundant Mindset

While reading through Facebook posts, I saw a conversation involving a mother saying she’s trying to teach her daughter about money. A friend told a cute anecdote about the daughter’s response to a comment about ‘can’t afford it.’

I hate those words. How limiting! If it’s a money lesson, wouldn’t it be better to at least say something like, “Well, I choose not to purchase that. There are other things I’d rather spend my money on.”

Because isn’t it really a decision, when it comes down to it?

I choose to pay for good car insurance, not for cable. I choose to buy craft supplies, local-when-possible groceries, and new-to-us goods from thrift stores and used book stores, not to buy the matching set of bath towels.

I also chose to pursue my passions in life instead of getting a degree that would lead to having plenty of disposable income. Where I am in my life, financially, is due to choices. I would be able to ‘afford’ more things if I’d chosen a money-generating career. It’s not what I chose. An answer for a child could be, “I chose to take a job I care about even though it pays less money. That means I don’t have enough money to buy X right now – but I could certainly save up for it if I really wanted to.”  Seem like a lot to try to lay out for a kid? Well, depends on age, attention span, mood, etc., but it’s really important to teach children not just what to think, but how to think, so that they can figure things out for themselves!

I want my children to understand budgeting and that money is limited. However, I also want them to know that they can pursue whatever they want. I want them to know, absolutely, that they can pursue any dream they have. It might be difficult, sure, but anything can be done. Maybe that means sacrificing something else. Maybe that means sacrificing a lot of something else’s. That’s ok!

My children are going to learn that if they want something badly enough, we can find money for it. They are also going to learn what it means to find that money – and I’m not talking about an adorable lemonade stand that costs more to the parent than the kids get in profits. Does it mean choosing to make something else less important? Are they willing to give up something old for this something new?

“I can’t afford it” are very dangerous, limiting words. Especially to a child, hearing that over and over. Will that create a mindset of gratitude and abundance? Or will that just make the world seem that much smaller, good things that much less attainable?

I want my kids to think, “How can I afford this? What do I need to do in order to reach this goal?” When they are older, I want them to understand that if their job doesn’t allow enough disposable income to save for travel, or lovely artwork, or a hybrid car, or whatever, that instead of being hindered into failure, they can figure out how to make enough money.

I don’t have very much money. But I do get many things I want, and when I’m committed to really pursuing something, I find a way. I learned my tenacity from my mother (though I didn’t really pick up the budgeting as well…). I hope that my children are able to make good choices about ‘affording’ things later in life, and I believe I’m helping them get there by never telling them we can’t afford something.

How do you approach money conversations with children?

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