Something really scary happened to me last week, my computer hard drive started to fail. First I had the desktop with no icons, then heard the lawn mower sound coming from the tower. My computer was seven years old, an old timer in terms of technology. The biggest problem is that I was so attached to it. I had stuff on there from way back when. When it came time to copy only the most important files for transfer I became anxious....what if I still need that paper I wrote from five years ago? I am a person who hates clutter but will admit that I have hoarded and saved many useless documents over the years. After coming to terms with my loss, I laid it to rest and adopted a new computer. This new one does more tricks and has more energy (memory) and will not chew up the disks I put into it. I am still teaching it my favorite applications and hope it never megabytes me....sorry!!
Are you broke? Well join the club, I'm broke too or so I thought until I talked to someone broker than me. My best friend from high school. I visited her apartment and we sat in the dark. I was wondering why she didn't turn on the lights but then realized that she couldn't afford to. I noticed a few other signs of financial despair...one ply toilet tissue and generic soda. But my friend is getting by and dosen't seem to be as depressed or anxious as I would be if I couldn't afford charmin. Then I thought about other people I know who can afford a nice lifestyle but choose not to. They are frugal (cheap). One friend I know regularly orders extra bread at restaraunts and takes it home, he cheaps out on the tip too...reminding me that you don't tip on tax. Another friend brings his wife to company dinner meetings (she dosen't work there) so they both get a free dinner. I have been annoyed at cheapness for years but now I think they are smarter than me or at least have more money. If you can't beat em, join em. So I am learning several ways to survive the recession and become more frugal...these are a few things I will do to try to save money. 1. Eat ramen soup....it costs a quarter 2. Cut my own hair....I already do that 3. Stop giving my kids money...if they complain I'll make them feel guilty somehow 4. Start saving rubber bands until I have a big ball of them....I won't really do that but grandma did it and she lived through the depression. 5. Re-gift this Christmas.....I could send my relatives' fruit cake to the neighbors instead of baking cookies, they will never know...I hope.
Since it only comes once a year, I guess my birthday should be celebrated. If that sounds a bit depressive you are right, I'm not just jumping around with joy on my 47th. Earlier today I went out for a birthday waffle and on the way back was stopped in traffic for a funeral procession. My self pity changed instantly as I saw the hearse drive past carrying someone who has had their last birthday. So I am spending the rest of the day reflecting on what I've learned in the last several decades. Whomever said that the only constant is change is probably right. Most things are impermanent. Youth is not always so great. I have had periods of pimply stress and turmoil that I am glad to have behind me. So while young people enjoy joints that don't hurt and the ability to eat cheese fries without intestinal rebellion, old people have perspective. I now know that if I am having a really bad month, next month will probably be better. Being prepared for things that are likely to go wrong is my new approach. With youth comes optimism, but with old age comes preparedness. Older people who walk around looking like they have been beaten by the game of life are really just preparing themselves for whatever is next. I now expect to get a flat tire even if there are no potholes the size of Texas. I also expect to be constantly tired and broke so when I'm not it's a bonus day. Lowering my expectations has made me feel quite lucky. Now if you asked Elizabeth Taylor if she wishes she could switch with me she might jump at the chance. I've never had a brain tumor and have only been married once, so who knows what the future holds.....until then I'm taking extra vitamin C and getting a flu shot because...you never know.
This week was a week when I learned that folk wisdom teaches some important lessons. While trying to help out a friend and find reasonable solutions to her problems, I have run into several brick walls of defiance. These are the lessons that I have learned as a result:
1. Neither a borrower nor a lender be (especially don't be a lender) 2. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink (just because you want to solve the problem doesn't mean that the sufferers want it solved) 3. Misery loves company (just go have a drink) 4. Don't worry be happy (oh well) 5. All's well that ends well (but what if it doesn't end well?)