Swing, waltz, salsa, or just shaking it. Has it really been that long since I blogged about something light and easy? The local children’s theater held a dance-a-thon as a fundraiser. The last full day I took off was Christmas, and my next day off is hopefully some time before the end of February. (My Rule of 7 continues.) The holidays, and then the start of the new year are hectic times. We’re living in fascinating times. The effort and the issues are wearying. Life isn’t just working and surviving. Life is also about the dance.
Personal finance is personal, and lately my personal life has been driven by the need to make enough to pay the bills. The good news is that I’m almost making enough; but almost isn’t enough. The other good news is that various stocks in my portfolio supposedly can do well in 2015; but five weeks into the year they haven’t. My other blog, Pretending Not To Panic, is gaining in popularity; and the research for it continues to uncover reasons for great optimism and great pessimism. Sorting it all out has given me a headache that was exacerbated when I tried to decide which timely topic to write about tonight. It took a bit of homemade beef stew and a nice glass of boxed red wine to remind me that sometimes the most important thing to do is to forget to do the things that seem important.
When I dance, I smile. That’s simple enough. Not everyone likes dancing, but I do. Throw a multitude of issues at me and, except while in the depths of my personal financial downturn, dancing with a partner makes me smile. The rest of the day can be intense analyses or tedious research; but, eventually that has to be put aside. What is really important? Being responsible is really important; otherwise, there’d only be a lottery ticket’s chance of me paying my bills. Being responsible is more than just responding to money issues. Being responsible to community, to other individuals, to myself, is also important.
Responsibility isn’t just altruism. Society and civilization survive because we respond to each other. If everyone only worried about themself then everyone would have to be a farmer, rancher, doctor, policeman, mechanic, and self-schooled in a long list of craft skills.
Responsibility is, however, also about self. If a person doesn’t take care of themself, they can’t take care of others. The harder I work, the longer I go without a break, the less effective I become. Health, relationships, and attitude degrade when the only thing in life is survival. Take it too far and words become more difficult, simple math requires a calculator, schedules are missed. Fortunately, the solutions aren’t expensive.
A couple evenings ago I went for my walk. The Powerball lottery was up to over $300,000,000 and I had a ticket. (Now it is over $400,000,000; so, I guess I didn’t win the jackpot.) As I walked I thought about how I would indulge myself. It was a fun exercise, especially when I realized that it would cost far less than $1,000,000 for my indulgences: a campfire by the beach, I already do that in my neighborhood; a long hike or ski trip, which might cost a few hundred for some new gear; a long schedule of massages, which cost less than many people spend on dinner. I enjoy my own cooking, so maybe a nicer kitchen and better ingredients. I enjoy talking with my friends, especially when the topics are substantial; so, maybe some extra wine or whiskey as lubricants. (Hey, this is Washington. We can add cannabis to the conversation.) The greatest indulgence is the one I evidently least afford right now and that is time. Having the bills paid, the debt eliminated, the repairs completed would ease my mind and my time so I could sit and enjoy whatever.
Oh yes, and there’d be dancing. There’d be dancing because, as I said above, when I dance I smile. Finding that one simple thing that creates that reaction is precious, and highly individual and personal. Amongst the great concerns about the planet and its people, we lose something if people don’t also find what makes them happy. I’m lucky. Most of what makes me happy are things that aren’t things. Experiences are marvelous. A few things may help them happen. (I really appreciate good dance shoes.) Experiences are actions. They take time. Life is nothing but time. Experiences are living.
My needs and wants may disappoint the advertisers, but they can go sell things to people who find joy in things. Go back and check my review of the Super Bowl ads. Very few of them made a direct connection between a thing and joy. They make allusions to enticing notions, but almost everything uses sex to sell, and almost none of the things had anything to do with sex. At least the Fifty Shades of Grey and Victoria’s Secret ads weren’t as much of a stretch.
There’s a storm coming in tonight. The rain isn’t here, yet. I’m going to close now, so I can spend a bit of time doing something I enjoy. The issues and concerns probably won’t change much (though earthquakes do happen, so you never know). I suspect the bigger change will be in myself. And, who knows? Maybe it will start raining and I’ll start dancing. As long as it makes me smile.