Friday, September 11, 2009

With or Without...

Over the last couple of years I have learned a lot about what I really need versus what I want… and ultimately what I can live without. Being pregnant and preparing for life as a single mother made me spend some serious time evaluating “stuff”. I had been an independent single woman for some time and really had a lot of freedom with what I did with my time, money and space.

There has been many a day over the recent months where I really start to wonder where all my money went in my life pre-KEW. Now that I have to pay for daycare, diapers, clothes and food for another little person in my life… a lot had to change. All those things that I’ve listed (and the ones that I didn’t) add up to a pretty penny by the end of each month! I don’t have Stacha or Bailey or their respective vet bills any more, but the KEW expenses generally add up to more than my fur-baby expenses ever did! So where did all that money go to… and how the heck do I make it work today??? Although Ikea seems to be surviving without me (shocking as it is), I also seem to be surviving without them (or at least without a shopping trip in nearly 2 years)! Gone are the regular take out dinners. Gone are the many many tabloid magazines filling up my recycling bag. Gone are the shopping bags of clothes and shoes and “stuff” that I just had to have. And the part that I never would have learned without KEW – I’m ok without all that stuff. Ok… I do miss my trips to Ikea – but I think that is more about missing my girls’ day trips to the store with R and C!!!

I’ve had a lot of wake up calls over the last while about how lucky I am in life… and I’m really working hard not to push the snooze button on that lesson. Sure, I have crappy days (don’t we all)… but there are a lot of folks out there in the world a lot worse off. One of those wake up calls came through a powerpoint that is similar to the show at The Miniature Earth. If you haven't seen it... do check it out. It's a bit of a reality check.

I had an "ah ha" kinda moment yesterday. Driving home after our trip to the Backyardigans (ya gotta be a parent of a wee one to really get the coolness of this reference) show at the Mac I crept along Blanshard with the rest of the rush hour traffic. As usual, there were some street folks at the intersections begging for cash or handouts of any kind. I’m generally not to keen on the street people thing… but I had a few recent reminders pop in to my head –“see, an example of someone who is worse off” and “what you give comes back to you”. So I started thinking of what I could do to help. I didn’t have cash with me to give to this guy… but I did have a big juicy nectarine in my purse. His sign said something like “Homeless and hungry. Anything will help”. Well, if he really is hungry, then that nectarine will taste really good. Down went the window when the light turned red and I offered up the fruit. He took it with a very grateful thank you. When he went to return to the curbside, the American with the thick accent in the car beside me stopped him and gave him some cash (apologizing profusely that she had to give him American dollars – LOL). Then the car behind them called him over and gave him some cash. I’ll be honest… I don’t think I’ve ever been at a stop light and noticed people in the waiting cars giving to the people asking for hand outs. I was surprised by the chain reaction of support that started with my offer of a nectarine… and I was even more surprised by how good it felt to give and how great it felt to see others give as well. The reminder that popped in to my head was right – I did get something back when I gave to someone else. I don’t even care what the guy used the cash for or if he ate the nectarine… I’m grateful to know that we as a society haven’t given up on charity and hope and supporting each other… myself included.

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