I grew up playing softball, well I should rephrase that, I grew up pitching a softball game. I did not “play” softball. Fielding, catching, running and hitting…not my forte. Case and point: I once attempted to bunt and wound up blacking my eye with the ball…seriously. However, I had an arm and good ball placement so I was successful and reaped the benefits of being a part of a team. I learned many lessons in the 15 years as a pitcher. Little did I know at the time, that many of these would turn out to be life lessons. Obviously, I didn’t realize this until years later but I can often tie many lessons back to my first introduction being on the mound or in the dugout. Next to “the ball doesn’t have a brain” –my answer to any frustration with an in-adamant object–the biggest one that has stayed with me is the importance of regrouping. Whenever I find myself facing a roadblock or feeling stifled I take a step back, turn to my teammates and we regroup. This week was a reminder of just this.
It’s difficult when you are working hard to move forward but the reminder of the past just keeps reappearing. It is no surprise that we are consumed in debt. Primarily college debt. Most of our generation is; but this is not an excuse. Together our student loans our exponential. We have come to terms with high interest rates and auto-drafts but when we begin to get all of our tax forms and see the total values of the monies continuously going out, it is deflating. The simple task of opening an envelope can be a grim reminder of the poor decisions we made in an effort to make the right decision about our future.
We could blame the government, for capitalizing on 17 and 18 y/olds heading off to college willing to sign their life away without the knowledge of what it will really mean in 5-10 years. We could blame financial aid and guidance counselors for not drilling the importance of scholarships into our undeveloped frontal lobes; or better yet detailing the consequences of what taking out a college loan v. grants could mean for one’s future; but none of this is helpful. Frugality 101 is the lesson of taking responsibility. This includes card swipes, cash transactions and loan/credit applications-past and present. Brutal honesty with oneself is not easy. Pretending that a $2 cup of coffee is “nothing” is much easier than admitting, when you do it daily, that you are losing an easy $14 a week; $56~ a month; and up to $730 a year. When looking at the numbers in this light, that coffee tastes a little bitter to me.
So what do we do? We take a moment to reflect, feel overwhelming regret and momentary failure (because it’s just hard not to) then we take a look around at how far we have come and regroup. B and I have always said, even in our vows, that being rich in love and family is the most important balance. It’s a cliche but it’s absolutely true. We can’t change the past but we can focus on the future. In the duration we will help to teach our children to not make the same mistakes that we did, learn plenty of lessons along the way and choose regrouping and working-hard over falling into the pit of regret. Progression is not cyclical but it is a choice. We may fall back at times but moving forward is always the goal, and it is the one we have chosen.