Posts Tagged ‘ happiness ’

Pick 2: Love. Happiness. Kids.

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

This weekend Mommy and I watched a well-acted, well-produced movie on Netflix called Friends With Kids.

It definitely more than earned its “R” rating. However, I still managed to appreciate and analyze the plot line and concept of the movie:

What if two people who were not at all in love decided to have a baby so they “wouldn’t have to deal with the complicated problem of combining romantic love, personal happiness, and kids?”

What if the dad and mom were “best friends with a kid,” but somehow with no emotional baggage and were free to go on with their lives with no commitment to each other other than their child?

In essence, the main characters of the movie (played by Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt) start out their experiment (with human life!) by saying that you can’t really have romantic love and personal happiness and still have kids.

Or kids and personal happiness and still be in love with the child’s parent.

Or kids and romantic love with the child’s parent and still personally be happy.

Obviously, I don’t agree with with those sentiments, but I completely understand what they’re getting at.

Those three things (love, happiness, and kids) are a challenging combo to balance.

As I’ve been writing to you about a lot here recently, I’m realizing that the least of these three is my personal happiness.

I talked about in “To Be More Like Clark Griswold On Our Family Vacations” how so much of what I let bother me is actually rooted in fear that I won’t get my way or be happy.

It’s true.

So for me, here’s the takeaway from the movie. It helped remind me that by default, parents are forced to prioritize love, happiness, and kids.

I choose love and kids, then.. my own happiness. (Or in my case, just one kid… for now.)

That’s not at all to say I’m not happy, because I’m very content and thankful for my life. But if I don’t put you and Mommy before myself, I’m not truly going to be happy anyway.





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The New Version of Our Old Selves

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Seven months.

After all the plotlines my wife and I have lived through in accordance to our move from Nashville to my hometown in Alabama, and now back to Nashville again, it’s only natural for us to wonder: Why?

Q) Why did we spend seven months and [x amount] of dollars to live here in my hometown, only to have to go back to where we came from?

A) It took moving away from Nashville to cause us to become positively changed people so that we could go back to Nashville as the necessarily improved versions of ourselves.  But we didn’t know any of this when we left Nashville.

I can confidently say that living in the small town of Fort Payne, Alabama has caused us to fully adopt the millionaire mindset (living as frugally as possible.)  Because we became Dave Ramsey followers shortly after we got married and have since been living on a budget, we thought we were doing pretty well when it came to financially planning our lives.

But we had much more to learn.  And I know for a fact I would have never learned to be this much of a penny-pincher if it weren’t for my unemployment and my wife’s inability to get a job, despite having a Master’s degree.

The move to Alabama has been the most humiliating process I have endured in my life:  Note that when I used the word “humiliating” just now, I meant it in the sense of being humbled and disciplined, not embarrassed or shamed.  (Here’s Wikipedia’s definition: “Humiliation is the abasement of pride, which creates mortification or leads to a state of being humbled or reduced to lowliness or submission.”)

Looking back, I can see how our former budget allotted my wife and I too much “blow money” (Dave Ramsey’s term for extra cash for personal enjoyment), too much “gift money” (money spent on gifts for birthday and Christmas gifts for our friends and family), and too much “food money” (money spent on eating out at restaurants and going out for coffee on the weekend).  Not only that, but now we have learned to ask the question, “What will cause us to earn/save the most money?” when making any decision, big or small.

The version of me from a year ago just didn’t care about money.  I only cared about happiness.  And that was an epic flaw in my thinking.  Now I realize that without conservative financial planning, I will not have sanity.  And without sanity, I can not be happy anyway.

The truth is this: Without moving to my hometown and being psychologically broken down, I would have never been a responsible enough decision maker when it came to finances.  Moving to Fort Payne was the only cure for my disease.

It’s more than just refusing to use a credit card or to buy name brand products.  It’s a matter of taking my finances nearly as seriously as I take my love for my wife and son, health, and my religious beliefs.  So now as we rebuild our lives again, we will be able to be better stewards of our income.  Our money will be better saved, better spent, and better given away.

Photos courtesy of Moments in Time Photography in Fort Payne, Alabama:

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