Tuesday, August 19, 2008

enough is enough

It's been so long since my beach post that the sunburn I got (despite regular applications of sunscreen) has finished peeling. I've also sold a motorcycle, purchased a motorcycle, started 2 evening classes at Emory, and written the first 3 pages of my "novel." In between all of that, I've had several major breakdowns, gone to see a head smasher (charrow's term for psychologist), and started taking crazy pills that come in the shape of a shield. Perhaps the shape helps to ward off the evil mood swing monster. Time (and an escalating dose) will tell.

I also finally got my hands on a copy of Your Money or Your Life. It's a book that comes highly recommended by several personal finance bloggers. I've been interested in reading it for quite awhile now, but the Fulton County Library search engine made the book impossible to find. I persevered one day and found it on page 13 of my search. I usually pride myself on my google skills (a co-worker and I used to have races to see who could find something faster), but the library system bamboozled me multiple times. So beware, my recommendation could be biased by the amount of effort it took to get the book.

A major theme of the book is "enoughness." Basically, you don't need to have everything to be happy and studies show that the people who do "have it all" are far from happy. The American Dream of richness and material wealth mutates faster than the flu virus. People think their happiness depends on that flat screen tv or their next big vacation, but as soon as they get the behemoth mounted on the wall or they finish their poolside daiquiris, they realize the high they were expecting has fizzled out and a shiny new want mirage has popped up on the horizon.

I was expecting Your Money or Your Life to be a finance laden book, and it does have some concrete money-saving advice (much more concrete than good ole Mr. Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover), but it also explores the idea of happiness and economizing your "life energy" (a hokey term, but I've gotten past the wombiness of it).

Brave your library catalogue and give it a shot. As for me, I'm moving on to an unpublished novel by my number one friend crush.


eje said...

"yer money or yer life" sounds a bit like that "millionaire next door" book that I read a few years ago. the lesson I took away from that book is that the people who seek fulfillment through shiny toys, fancy vacations, and big houses are not only not fulfilled, but actually tend not to be all that financially secure either. they might have high incomes, but they spend just about every penny they earn, and have little in the way of real savings or plans for retirement. I loved that the average ACTUAL millionaire drives a used crown vic, lives in a split level ranch, and clips coupons for cat litter.

The idea of "enoughness" makes intuitive sense to me. And I think it's a skill you can cultivate. At least, I try to. I have a theory that if you live somewhat ascetically on a day-to-day basis, ordinary treats can become real sources of pleasure again.

Spinning Ninny said...

leave it to liz to write a novel.