Thursday, April 28, 2016
Thoughts on "Wellth"
Lately I've been finding the term "wellth" popping up all over the place. Particularly from one of my favorite websites, Mind, Body, Green. Sure, I have a touch of transcendentalism in me in the sense that I have always been ever-questing to better myself. It's nice to have a truly never-ending hobby, right? *wink*
What is wellth? "Wellth is the combination of physical, mental, and financial wellbeing that provides a foundation for each of us to strive toward success by living our best lives." I'd add spiritual to that list as well.
It is basically this trend/wave/philosophy -whatever you want to call it- in which a well-rounded approach to all aspects of life is valued as the new "wealth focus".
I can relate. Don't get me wrong- I know money is important. I live, breathe and have stressed a lot about that all day every day for years. Somehow I seem to always end up struggling. Having exited my 20's in the throes of the recession (and having always been penny-conscious), I know all too well the value of a dollar and how important it is to have it and prepare for your future as well.
Would I like to own my own home, have good insurance and be able to travel and do all of the things that a bit more money could provide my little family? OF COURSE!!
The concept of wellth, however apparently stems from my generation and those right behind us see that the world is changing startlingly and is already very different from the world for which we were taught to prepare. Therefore, we need to adapt in how we approach it all.
If you look at me for example, on paper, I would look like a total failure of the traditional system of well-being. I currently have no career to speak of, no children, no insurance, I don't own a home, my IRA is laughable. I can't travel, invest, diversify my portfolio, or have steadily climbed toward "success" in my career. I am a 34 year-old, intelligent college graduate, I am married. I outright own one vehicle. I have student loan debt and "life debt" that is more than what I have in savings. Oof.
But when I look at my life, especially since the big changes in my career over the past 6-8 months, I have noticed one thing in particular: I'm wellth-ier and happier than I have ever been in my adult life and it is astonishing.
This is an enormous thing, friends. I was truly surprised by it as it happened by accident.
Here is how my wellth has grown:
The flexibility I have had since I quit my "job job" has nearly extinguished the chronic anxiety attacks I had been experiencing for the past few years. If you had told me that three months ago when I was having to stop work and practice deep-breathing every hour or so at the office to keep the rabid squirrel in my gut from scratching its way out- ahem- I would have thought you were legitimately smoking crack.
Q-Time is the Right Time.
I have had more quality time with my friends and family. The word priceless is not grand enough to describe how good that feels. My myopic focus on work and surviving meant I have had to sacrifice quality time with them (especially over the past five years) due to stress, work hours, exhaustion etc. In the short amount of time I have had more flexibility, I have felt more satisfaction and deep delight with my family and friends than I have felt in a long time, and it is because I'm not worn slap out, stressed out and bitching all the time.
Body (and Booty) Benefits.
I have been exercising nearly every day and enjoying the hell out of it. I've lost a few pounds and sleep better. I don't crave my bad habits (see wine and chocolate) hardly at all. I even made it through PMS and bought ZERO chocolate! (Who is this person?!) I have started enjoying things in moderation without even trying.
My two pups are happier. Not only because I can spend more time with them, but because I'm happier. You know the saying "when Mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy"...it's so true. My sweet little stinkers have been better behaved than they have been in years, which in turn means we all enjoy each other and cuddle so much more! Everyone's a winner and since my boys are 11 and 9 years old, the time I spend with them is invaluable.
I've started dreaming vibrantly again. I was known for this growing up. In high school, my pals would ask me to retell my dreams because they were like crazy action movies. My dreamworld has always been vivid, detailed, exciting and memorable. However, for the past two or so years in particular, they have steadily grown less detailed, less colorful, more stressful and scary and my sleep patterns have suffered. Since my anxiety has started to fade, my dreams have started growing ever more vibrant and interesting.
Rain Man Says What?
I've grown less obsessive about our finances. What???? Even though I'm bringing home drastically less money than I was even a month ago, my all day-every day obsessing/balancing/checking bank statements and penny pinching compulsively have all but ceased.
Do I care about our finances? Absolutely! A part of wellth is balancing life with your financial well-being. There is no throwing caution to the wind and mindlessly trilling "it'll all work out, man." Nope. Only a burgeoning sense of balance.
Have I felt compelled to spend money? Not really and it surprised me. We've eaten on the cheap and yes, sometimes it's boring but I haven't felt neglected or "punished" as we often felt in our financial feast/famine cycle of before.
I check the bank account once a day to make sure everything is in order and then I leave it be. I make conscious choices, when I do buy, I buy on sale. I work on my Etsy store and freelance work at the times I'm at my best instead of being too tired to think when I get home at the end of the day and doing nothing that enriches my life, sparks my creativity or engages my mind.
I buy things we need first instead of "wants" and that has surprisingly made me feel less worried about the future because I know the most important things are taken care of. It seems super common sense, and it is- but I can't say that this model in particular ever occurred to me. It has created a cycle for me in which, due to that anxiety being removed, I make fewer choices based on reactive emotions and in turn, make better choices and have still been able to save money and pay down debt!
Productivity thy name is Balance.
I've been making jewelry. Something I haven't done in years. I've felt inspired again. I finally wrote out an intensive business plan/proposal for a business I've wanted to have for 25 years. I've been keeping my house cleaner than I have in half a decade which actually makes me happier. My skin and hair look better. My relationships grow stronger.
I've almost broken my habit of waking up in a fit of dread because I have to go to work somewhere that pays great but makes me deeply unhappy. Old habits die hard, what can I say?
What a glorious sense of WELLTH indeed. Yes, I know that I will need to get back out there and take a job I don't love again for a while because it's what is right for us at the moment. The hubs graduates this week and we everything is up in the air about where he'll be working or where we may be going (or not). I know I'll take something positive from all of this not-knowing. It does throw this all into stark contrast, however.
I've had a taste of the good life. A beautiful world in which I have time for the things and people I love instead of just dreaming about it. It feels magical. I have dreamed of having a life and career balanced in such a way for decades and I actually wondered if it could happen. Now I know it can. I will have to do some stuff I don't like (big whoop- such is life) until I can manifest the career I want for myself. But I can do it.
I can. I can. I can.
It makes me emotional to even say it aloud.
I've discovered that flexibility is a key factor in my work happiness and in turn, life happiness and balance.
I've discovered that my wellth is true and will lead to all aspects of my life (especially including finances) growing healthier and stronger due to the fact that my brain, heart and psyche are all happier and humming along.
Balance begets growth. I'm all about it, y'all!
How is your wellth, friends? Here are a few links if you're interested in learning more about what "wellth" can mean.