Friday, November 8, 2013

Ruminations on Scarcity

Today was another (somewhat) crazy day at work. Sadly, I'll have to work some over the weekend. But I hope to have some time to write a little more eloquently than I've been able to do during the work week.

I've been thinking about the scarcity mindset recently. Why am I talking about scarcity when my life is filled with abundance? I am blessed with two wonderful families (mine and my husband's). We're both gainfully employed and our years of experience in our respective fields mean that (perhaps uncharacteristically these days), we're compensated well. We're both healthy and fit. Our cats (we don't have any children) are mostly healthy and mostly fit. We've managed to build a nice nest egg for retirement (neither of our employers have a pension plan).

So what's with the scarcity mentality?

Fear is a big part. Fear of losing everything if the stock market crashed. Fear of not being able to get a job because we'll be too old. (Don't laugh. We're no longer spring chickens and it's a fact that employers do not like to hire older workers.)

When my husband mentioned that we could both quit our jobs in a year or two, part of me said "Yes! The moment I've been waiting for is finally within sight!" And in the next breath, I said "Holy sh*t! We won't have any money coming in. It will all be going out!" And that's when I started backpedaling. Maybe I'm not ready to retire. Maybe I want only the option to be able to retire. I was so ready to quit my job last year at this time that being five years out from retiring was way too long. Then my role at work changed and things got a little better. I would still prefer to do something other than what I've been doing. But the work stress is greatly reduced and I can survive, just to bring in a paycheck. But is that selling my soul, selling out?

The truth is that we have enough. We have more than enough. Tom is an excellent financial manager. Me, not so much. Perhaps that's where some of my fear originates. And perhaps the scarcity mentality comes from watching my parents struggle and go into debt to raise four children. We never lacked…not food, not love, not clothes, not shelter. My family didn't take fancy vacations or eat out or get the newest fashions or coolest toys. We had enough. But for some reason, once our paychecks stop and we start living off our savings, I feel like we won't be able to do the things we like to do. It's a catch-22: work and not have the time to do what we want to do or not work and not feel like we have the financial resources to do the things we want to do.

I need to dive deeper into my scarcity mentality. And right now, my insight has reached a dead end. Therefore, I'll apologize for this somewhat incoherent post and say good night.

Sweet dreams!

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