Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bittersweet Symphony

About a month ago, I sat outside the car wash, waiting as someone else vacuumed out the goldfish cracker crumbs, while my son vroom-vroomed with a toy truck and stared at the police K-9 dog.  The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" came over the radio, and, along with a rush of nostalgia for the '90s, I felt a new awareness of the song's meaning.

"You're a slave to money then you die."

That same line has run through my head at least once a day since I heard the song. I'll stare longingly at the newest Nissan Pathfinder (yes, I have very suburban daydreams), and the song will blast.  I'll drive by a for sale sign in the yard of a house in a neighborhood that would double my house payment, and, there's the song.

"You're a slave to money then you die."

The way those words make me feel inspires me to make drastic changes in my life - to drop all of my consumerist habits, to sell the house and move somewhere less expensive, where I am less likely to be a slave to money until I die.  Of course, I have a husband, and while he's actually one of the least likely people I know to become a slave to money, he also has opinions about where and how we live. Quitting our jobs, packing up, and leading a simpler life elsewhere won't work without him.

So...I consider other options.

I reroute my daydreams. I start small, picturing a Nissan Rogue, instead of the Pathfinder, for example.

Joking aside, I do need to rewire my thinking.  The things I want mean sacrificing time that I don't want to lose. The money hungry/money rich (depending on what side of the fence you lived on) days of my '80s and '90s childhood have me still seeking some form of satisfaction through the acquisition of belongings. My husband calms me down (I chose wisely with that one), and I can let some desires go, but I still want.  That wanting has led to 50 and 60 hour work weeks (there's more to that story, but for now, let's pretend it's as simple as that) doing work I have come to care less and less about.

My new motto, as I float through my days with that one line, "You're a slave to money then you die" in my head, is Keep Calm and DO LESS.  I take on a lot of responsibilities at work, at home, and in my personal life. Saying no may not come easily, and it may not come quickly (again, the work situation is more complicated than merely having the guts to say no more often), but if I keep that motto in mind, hopefully I can free myself from the power that money has in my life.

I'd rather have a different song in my head, thank you very much. 

I think I'll go with "Twinkle, twinkle," the Ari Version, "How I wonder what you ARRRRREEEEE."

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