It’s Not About the “Stuff”

These past several months have just been a crazy, stressful, emotional roller coaster of a ride.  Mid-November of last year I had bunion surgery performed on my left foot, leaving me laid up and hobbling around in pain for a few weeks.  In December we had the holidays, our daughter’s college graduation, and the birth of a new grandson.  (His name is Levi, and he is so very special, cute, adorable, smart, cute, cuddly, smiley, CUTE!  Did I mention he is cute?) In the middle of all of this, our Oklahoma daughter and grandbabies arrived to spend an extended amount of time with us.  So we have been readjusting to living with a full nest for the time being.  (How’s that saying go? Something about, “They always come back.”) *smile*.  On top of everything, it has also seemed as if Tim and I have battled one illness after another this entire winter.

I say all this, not to solicit your sympathy, but as a little background into what played a large role in a major life decision that Tim and I made at the end of February.  All of this stress in my personal life, was definitely having a negative effect on my professional life.  I felt like I wasn’t giving 100 percent to my family, or my co-workers.  And even though we knew that retirement from my job at Ferris was still a ways down the road, we finally sat down and asked ourselves if our attempt at maintaining a two-income household was really worth the stress.  At the end of the day, who and what am I working for?

So we made what, in society’s eyes, was a radical decision.  We decided that we just weren’t going to play by the rules anymore.  You know the ones.  The rules that say both people in a marriage must work themselves into a frenzy a minimum of 40 hours a week, until at least 65 years of age, in order to pay for the stuff that they think they can’t live without and will make them happy.  The stuff that will keep them enslaved to their paychecks, even though they have very little time to enjoy any of the stuff, and more importantly, the time to just enjoy family and the pursuit of things that really matter in life.

Am I still really busy?  Yes, but in a much different way.  I’m busy on my own terms.  I’m busy helping my husband to achieve a dream of eventually having a more self-sustainable lifestyle.  I’m busy enjoying time with my kids and grandkids.  I’m busy packing healthy lunches for my husband and learning what it feels like to cook meals from scratch.  I am still adjusting to this kind of busy.  But seriously?  I could really get used to this!

I am so thankful for my hard-working husband that has supported me every step of the way through this transition, and for his budgeting expertise and mad saving skills that have made this adventure possible.   I love him so much.

In closing, I want to share just a small anecdote that happened soon after I left my job.  I was shopping with my daughter and grandbabies (In the middle of the day, on a Monday, I might add.  Just because, well, I could.)  We had to run into Hobby Lobby, just to grab a couple of small things.  If you know anything about Hobby Lobby, they have some awesome stuff in there.  Seriously.  I could spend some major bucks in that store.  As we’re walking through the store and commenting on all the pretty stuff, we were jokingly lamenting the state of our finances.  She said she had almost come to the end of her monthly spending allowance, and I said that my spending allowance had just recently been cut in half.  That’s when it hit me.  THIS is what it’s all about.  I could spend every Monday for the next twenty years behind a desk, in order to pay for “stuff.”  Or I could spend my Monday afternoons laughing and spending time with my family, when they call me on a whim and say, “Hey, wanna go shopping with me and the kids?”  I looked at Caitlin in the middle of Hobby Lobby that day, and thought to myself, “It’s not about the stuff.”

Comments (2)

  1. Shelley Hopkins

    I do admire your courage and your willingness to follow God’s lead. You and your family are truly blessed!

    1. Julie Cole (Post author)

      Thank you so much, Shelley!


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