Summer and Learning About Us

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It's funny to look back over the last 7 years of adulthood for me. As a teenager, I generally felt as though I knew exactly who I was and what I believed (even though that exact thing changed about as much as my hair colour), but as an adult, I've become much more aware of the fluid nature of these things. As a child and teen I definitely thought that growing up meant learning exactly who you are, which would be a stable and definable thing, and the right way to live, which would be singular and clear cut. Even though I've long since left those ideas behind, I still find myself surprised over and over and how people older than me are just trying to find their way through in what seems like the best way for themselves in their context at any given moment, just like people in any other stage of life. My 'all knowing elders' are just people like me, who also change and shift, with more life experience

With that said, I am learning that I have patterns that stay pretty consistent and have for most of my life. And instead of senselessly sticking with them, I do have the ability to consciously shift or to consciously stick with them. Knowing and being aware of myself is important though, and I'm on the road to learning that when I choose to live differently from how I was told I should it's not because I am doing something wrong, but instead that I weigh my beliefs and values differently than my parents. This might sound like common sense to you, but it's what I'm in the process of internalizing. And it's definitely helping me remember how young I still am.

I really realized that with one value this summer, and that was how I choose to manage my money. Growing up, I was never a saver. I heard about it a lot as my parents tried to teach me the importance of saving money for the future, for unknown expenses, and so on. I have done my fair share of saving for things that are important to me or when I was living off student loans. But this summer I definitely played out a familiar pattern for me, which is that I pay my bills and save enough money to get by and otherwise spend money pretty freely. I took a trip to Drumheller, two trips to Regina, two trips to Waterton National Park and one to Banff National Park. I took a few days off work here and there when I didn't need to. We ate out, took coffee and doughnuts to work for my coworkers, ate lots of ice cream, took in some live music, and went to movies, mini-golfing, the air show, and the fair. I could have skipped some of that stuff - we did already go to Hawaii earlier in the year as well. But I realized that being conservative with my money and saving for a future I'm totally unsure of is just not the point. Having an amazing summer when I have the freedom to is the point. Making memories with my family is the point. Learning that I believe with all my being that living life to the fullest is more important than the numbers in my bank (as long as my bases are covered!) is the point. And I would not trade that for a boring life and a big bank account.

I still rent an apartment that could definitely use some work, my home is full of cheap and/or hand-me-down furniture, and my car is in its teens. I'm pretty sure my wardrobe is smaller than my boyfriend's, and my student loan debt is bigger than any annual income I've ever had. But every time Gavin talks about our experiences and all the things he has seen and learned, I know we're on the right track.

1 wonderful comments:

Mom said...

You are wise beyond your years.