Monday, September 12, 2011

To Carpe Diem or not to Carpe Diem (Re-post)

Originally posted June, 2009 

I love the phrase Carpe Diem... seize the day! Wikipedia says the poet Horace (who made it famous in his poem) used it as... "enjoy, make use of, seize".  As one who feels time has been fast forwarded, I like that definition.

I am enjoying being stuck at home due to absolutely no money. No, really (which is probably why I love reading Laine's Letters so much... she had to do the same). I have a letter sitting on the breakfront ready to be sent but I don't have the money for a stamp.

Now, I'm not telling you that to feel sorry for me. I'm really fine as I am surrounded by beautiful nature, my diet is limited but healthy, and my son put gas in the car for me when he received his paycheck. He asked me to help pick out a bouquet of roses for his friend he's taking to the homeschool prom this evening and told me to buy a few groceries at the same time. He even let me buy a Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi and a pint of half-n-half.

Hehehe, I found a bouquet of gorgeous pink roses in a display which were half the price of similar roses in the refrigerator display. We came home and I "tweaked" the bouquet to make them look quite uptown. Doing things the frugal way can be fun.

It all becomes about attitude... if I allowed myself to get upset that all my favorite garage sales have now come and gone without me even having a dollar to spend... then I'd be ungrateful for everything I have. God has never failed to provide everything I needed, even if life was uncomfortable now and then.

It's all about seizing what is good about the day we live and corralling our expectations...

My New Mexican friend was telling me recently about a couple they knew who were just thrown out of their third rental house in a row for not paying rent. They had called to see if she and her husband could take their horses for awhile (the answer was no). What amazes her is the lifestyle this couple expects as both work but live far beyond what reality should be for their situation. They do not pay their rent but they have a brand new truck, horses, and other luxuries. Carpe Diem is good when within our means.

But then there are those who are just the opposite... my father-in-law had a Depression mentality and went far beyond being frugal. Even though they had plenty of money in savings and absolutely no debt outside of their mortgage, they rarely did anything to make beautiful memories. The time our children are at home is fleeting, one honestly does look back when the youngest turns eighteen and wonders where the years went.

My husband and his siblings have few good memories of growing up, even though they had a stable home life in a pleasant middle class neighborhood. When my father-in-law died, he had plenty of money in the bank but his children didn't shed tears at his funeral. I did, which shocked everyone as he hadn't treated me well... I guess having married into the family I "saw" him differently.

Don't fear the future. If you have an income and are financially stable... Carpe Diem! Who knows what next year will bring? Well, we do know the family will not be at these ages. Of course, I'm not talking about going into debt or spending the mortgage payment to go have fun. Don't buy a brand new truck and horses if you can't pay the rent.

No... but if you have a little "extra"... make some memories. I didn't have my father with me very long. His work was seasonal and he knew he'd be out of a job each winter. But I have never had to go into counseling due to my father for in the short ten years we had together he never showed fear about what life would bring.... instead he planted flowers, made furniture, cooked meals when Mom worked late, caused me to laugh, cried when Patsy Cline died (and I cry when I hear her music), made it impossible for me to see cows or horses when driving on a highway without remembering how excited he became when viewing animals, and planted those seeds I'd need later in life... our ability to enjoy life is not dependent on our bank balance.

Be careful... be frugal where necessary... become more self sufficient... try your best to stay away from debt... fill your recipe box with delicious frugal recipes... re-read favorite books... watch uplifting and warm hearted movies... hug your furry friends... sip tea from a beautiful English tea cup... organize your pictures while remembering pleasant days... sit on your deck or porch and watch the sun come up while enjoying the morning cup of coffee... surprise the family with a chocolate cake for no reason whatsoever... bake bread and serve it warm with real butter... live life... teach your children how the good life can be enjoyed on a budget.

Don't be afraid of the future.

Carpe Diem. Your children will thank you.


Rebecca said...

What a powerful post! I'd be so interested in knowing what you might add these few years later....

It covers the topic of living joyfully and simply in spite of difficult economic times VERY well.

In many ways, we who have learned some of these lessons throughout out childhood & young adulthood are a step ahead of those who find themselves unprepared for the "hard" times we are living in....

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I think this is very true, and wonderful advice, Brenda!I don't remember when you first posted this, but it started my day out just right!

Tracy said...

A beautiful post full of briliant advice. Thanks for reposting...I needed to read it again! :)

Anonymous said...

Really, really love this post.....and Laine's letters, too.

Thank you,

Angela in Texas

Mrs.Rabe said...

Beautiful, and I say "Amen!"


Vee said...

So very true...our children will thank us and when we can pluck along, it shows them how they'll be able to do the same when times are tough. One of my favorite summers was the one where my husband was out of work. We did a lot of making the best of a bad situation and it really worked. It was also the last summer he was truly available for any of us, but that's another story.

Anonymous said...

You're right. It's all in the attitude. We've had a lot of setbacks-we'll never afford a car again. Living in town, we can get along without one-use a taxi for groceries and walking is good exercise. It's best to just enjoy the good that comes our way.
There are lots of cheap or free things to enjoy such as the library, walks in the park, etc.
-Thinking of those foolish people with their horses and fancy trucks, we also get to snicker when the cost of gas goes up yet again :)

DM said...

Thank you. I am a newly single mom of two tiny ones and I've been so stressed out over job stuff and the living situation, but while I am blessed to live with my parents and not working yet I need to remember to make memories and enjoy that time with my kiddos.

I love your blog. I am a long-time subscriber but I rarely comment due to lack of hands (I'm typing one handed now with a little one in the other). Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I definitely needed to read this! Thank you!


Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life said...

Enjoyed your posting.... you must bless many people with your uplifting, and so beautiful attitude in view on how to 'carpe diem' no matter what the circumstances!

In times like these, people NEED your outlook -- it's a GIFT from heaven!

Jae-Jae said...

Brenda, this is exactly what I needed to read today, as I'm been rather down in the dumps. I look forward to your posting every day & this one is so great. I'm going to try to print it off, & hang where I can see it every day. Thank you so much.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

I so love your philosophy on frugality Brenda. Thanks for posting this again.

Ann said...

How appropriate for today's world!

Pen Pen said...

great post! attitude is the best way to face any situation... thanks for the insight!