( I know the above rock image is unbalanced! I am a writer, not a graphic artist, people!)
I was running errands today, and I zipped into the Mickey Dee’s drive through for a coffee. (Don’t judge)
There was a silver minivan right in front of me. An older gentleman was behind the steering wheel, placing his order. After he finished, I moved up to the order kiosk and it hits me~
Cheap Men’s cologne
Like a blanket of fake pheromones and grandmas spice rack, the scent was suffocating. It shimmied into my driver’s side window as I held my breath, waiting to place my order. I quickly opened my passenger window to help free the rowdy smell.
Unbelievably, as I moved to the next window to pay, it was there.
Relentless in its pursuit of nostrils to penetrate, the odor filled my mouth as I spoke to the window cashier. I scrapped my tongue on my teeth as I tried to free my head from the cloud of stink.
Holding my breath, I grabbed my coffee at the last window. “Eternally Sexy” moved fast as I opened my driver’s side window, floating into the large open space of my older minivan, settling into my floor carpets and fabric seats. Holy Cheap Aftershave Batman! I haven’t smelled that much cologne since the late 1980’s when I would go bar hopping with girlfriends, dancing to hours of Duran Duran and Flock of Seagulls!
Opening all my windows, I zoomed down the interstate, hoping to air out the remaining molecules of chemically manufactured sex appeal. I wondered if anyone had bothered to tell that poor man that he needed to cut back, way back, on the goods. Even more amazing, how can he not smell it?
Of course, I started to think about my own life. First, I made a mental note to check my own fragrance application approach. Then I began to think a bit more deeply. Specifically, what am I oblivious to in my own life?
Unconscious spending habits?
We all know the person who never has any money; it is like “broke” is their middle name. In some situations, it is beyond their control. Life can be crappy at times. But for many people, unconscious spending habits keep you broke. Critical thinking and self reflection seem to be at an all time low in our culture. Many of us live on autopilot. Spending. Consuming. Working. Feeling broke. Spending. Consuming… you see the pattern.
What if we made a personal commitment to be aware of our financial behavior? If we decided that life consisted of more than consumption and addition?
In fact, life might actually be more about subtraction.
Cheap junk from China.
Retail therapy sessions.
“I deserve it” rationalizations.
There is an ancient tradition in the Christian community. It is called “The Fasted Lifestyle”. Simply put, the Fasted Lifestyle is choosing to have, do and commit to less so your spirit can hear what God is saying. If you don’t believe in God, think of it this way. A fasted lifestyle takes some of the emotional, financial and physical load off of your soul. It makes room for more important things.
The fasted lifestyle looks different for each person. No judgments or nitpicking by onlookers. Consider your decisions and challenge yourself to see if choosing to have less releases more blessings in your everyday life.
Often, a fasted lifestyle and financial self awareness work together to create a more whole hearted approach to money.
Someone should have told that older gentleman that “less is more” when using body spray! Looking back, I can identify times in my life when I was overwhelmed with the pursuit of more. As Mr. Money Tree and I prepare for Retirement, we want to live out elements of a fasted lifestyle. Yes, I will be the first to admit, it can be uncomfortable to challenge my thinking patterns, and then my spending habits. As thinking beings, when we spend time on course correction and self reflection, we will be rewarded with stronger, healthy habits.
To give a nod to another ancient fellow, Socrates: The unexamined life is not worth living.
Tell me what a fasted lifestyle means to you. What other practices help you develop your financial balance?