Putting the ING in Planning

My husband and I were speaking about things that we wanted to do. Some of those were vacation, whimsical purchases, and healthy savings. At the same time, we want to make sure that we don’t feel as if we are just working to meet the daily needs and don’t get to enjoy our hard work. As the conversation progressed, it was easy to clearly see how realistically, none of our desires were going to magically walk into our lives. We had to plan them.

At first I thought that we had to work hard and hopefully things would fall into place. Yet, working is not enough. Literally. We fall into the trap of thinking that in life we need money to make things right, and we get that through work. So it can be concluded that if we work, we will have a good life. Unfortunately, that is wrong. Not only is life composed of more things than what money can buy, but work alone won’t get us there. We need to take some time to plan our approach.

Here is an example: you come home from work, tired, and turn on the TV. You focus only on breathing and absorbing the moving figures, and thirty minutes later, your stomach reminds you that you are more than a pair of eyes. You go to your fridge to realize that you only have bread, butter, and some broccoli. You don’t have the energy to even think about going out and don’t have the funds for delivery, so you have a vegetarian dinner. After you have melted into the couch for about two more hours, your body reminds you that you didn’t have a good night sleep last night, and you need to make friends with the bed. You take a quick shower and search for pajamas, to find none, since you haven’t done laundry in ten days, which also means that you are probably out of underwear. You have two options: go to bed in whatever uncomfortable outfit you find, and wake-up early so you have clothes for work tomorrow, or start laundry right now. Not a fun evening.

If laundry and dinner were the only things we had to think ahead for, it would all be a piece of cake. But wait, there is more! What about for something you’ll enjoy, like a vacation? Or for when you grow old, like retirement? What about this weekend, so you get to enjoy it to the fullest? Or even tomorrow, so even though you have a long day, you get to maximize every free minute.

I didn’t grow up planning much because I had a lot of free time and didn’t see any need. I learned about savings but not about budgeting. I didn’t do much outside of school, so a life of work to pay bills and then using all my free time for nothing was an independent version of my childhood. As the years go by, I realize how I need to look ahead so I can take action today. On top of that, I recognize that it isn’t only about taking care of my family and myself, but about what I want to do that naturally ignites me. Having fun is not the only thing I want to be able to do. Having savings is not my main goal. I want to enjoy my life, and that involves more than fun and security. It involves fulfillment.

With this thought, I want to encourage you to plan for what burns a small or large fire in you, and allows you to connect with the rest of us. You only need to take one step forward to start on your path.

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