One of the wonderful things about life is that each day when we awake we have the opportunity to decide whether we want to do things differently or continue on the same course. The gift of freedom and choice are never to be taken for granted or ignored.
Typically the New Year is a time to reflect on the past and plan for the future. In some ways the date is arbitrary but in another it is a reminder of the fresh start we have been given. The middle of winter has not always been my favorite time of year. The cold days and the short amount of daylight are something that at best I try to tolerate but not embrace.
A friend of mine changed my perspective. When I would moan and complain about yet another winter she was excited and ready. What was the difference? She was a quilter. Her family spent the fall stacking the wood, canning the food, and preparing for the winter. If snow were to come she would be happy to be not leaving the home for weeks at a time. And while she was home she was working on what she loved - quilting.
I, on the other hand, loved to be outside. Digging, mowing, planting, and trimming - this was my idea of a good time. I would practically press my face against the glass waiting for a break in the weather so I could get outside. When the winter was finally over and the flowers started popping up I would be so relieved and feeling thankful that "I would never have to do THAT again" only to be shocked and dismayed when winter would come the following year. It took me many years to realize that this was inevitable and I chose the option of those in the sky and twenty years later flew south.
Many people who are In The Trenches financially approach it the same way that I approached winter. "oh, no" "This is horrible". "It will never end". The fact is that most of us in the course of life will go through financial seasons just as we go through annual seasons. There will be ups, downs, and in betweens. Many are waiting for their financial spring like getting a new job just like I waited for the flowers to bloom. When spring comes the smiles reappear and it is easy to forget that a financial winter will come again. This may be in the form of a decline in income or and increase in expenses.
The most important thing I learned was also the simplest. Life has it's seasons. We can have our favorites all we want but that does not prevent the other seasons from occurring. Acknowledging this and PLANNING for it not only financially but emotionally can make the difference between our joy and misery.
Which of the four seasons are you in today?
The Ant and the Grasshopper