The Bigger Picture

I looked yesterday to see what I last posted here – it apparently was before life became a jumbled calendar of chaos between my rehearsals for The Sound of Music and my husband’s meetings and our son’s extra-curricular projects – and realized that, once again, every single resolution seemed like it has ended up in the heap.

I even had to look up what my One Little Word was for 2015. (Oh, Cindy…)

I was just looking for a place to start for the Slice of Life Challenge posts to start today and landed in a mire of guilt and disappointment for one more year of dropping the ball.

So I went shopping.

I had some time to kill between my meeting and meeting with the guys, so I did what I often do: I look for a new notebook.

I’m sure I’m not the only person out there who does this.

Everything feels better when there is a fresh, clean notebook full of possibility in their hands.

I knew exactly what I wanted so I pulled into the packed parking lot of one of my favorite shopping plazas — because there is a book store and and office supply store and a great place to sit and drink coffee and read and write all in one place.

Even if I knew what I wanted, I wandered up and down the aisles at the office store (it’s always dangerous to start in the bookstore). I picked up other notebooks and flipped through them even though I knew the one I wanted (a $2.49 graph paper composition book) was really all I wanted and needed. I checked out the pens even though I knew I had just bought a pack of my favorites a couple of weeks ago. I picked up a pack of brightly colored binder clips.

My phone rang.


It was my husband.

“We are incredibly wasteful people.”


“Ohhhhkay,” I said.

“I am looking at our bills and I’m looking at our income and I’m looking at our bank account balances. What are we doing with our money?”

I put the binder clips back where they were on the peg.

“Hmmmm…maybe we need allowances.” I was only half-joking. I read somewhere that getting an allowance in cash for the week and only using bank cards for true emergencies would make you stick to a budget better.

We only talked a few minutes longer, but the short interaction ensured that I only bought that $2.49 notebook.

As I wandered around the bookstore hoping to find a place to sit and write — and then wandered through where I wanted to get coffee and write when I couldn’t find a place to sit at the bookstore, I kept thinking about how I spent both money and time.

I couldn’t find a place to sit – and I couldn’t find a place in my brain where I felt comfortable with the knowledge that we are so wasteful.

I looked at my new notebook – and at the one that was about to be replaced (though I hadn’t even finished using it) – and I felt a bit sick.

I looked at the cup of coffee I’d refilled right before leaving my meeting – and then at the coffee place I would have bought another coffee from just to sit at one of their tables for a half hour.

I looked at my purse jammed with two books and my cell phone – and thought about how I had just been thinking I’d just recently been looking at new purses, how I had a constantly growing list of books I wanted to buy (some of which I had just visited at the bookstore briefly), and the short conversation with my son about how we’d probably be upgrading our cell phones this summer, even though mine still works just fine.

It’s easy to get sucked up into the regular routine of everyday life, to want what’s around us, to not appreciate what’s right in front of us.

I noticed that it sometimes is the same thing with how I spend my time.

I have 10,080 minutes to spend each week.

I need some to sleep, some for regular Cindy maintenance (showering, eating, repainting my nails — don’t judge on that last one), some to spend with my family (though that’s time that’s going to be in short supply this week unfortunately), some to teach and do homework, some to do housework (if my husband and parents are reading this, they might comment that this doesn’t get near the amount of time it should unless I’m procrastinating on something bigger). I choose to spend my time on other things that are rewarding to me – reading a book, binge-watching Gilmore Girls from the beginning (for the first time — and I’m in season 1 yet; don’t ruin it for me!), taking a nap, helping with various committees and projects, talking to friends on social media.

Sometimes the 10,080 minutes gets spent just as wastefully as my money and it bothers me. I fall into a rut and don’t prioritize how I want to spend it and the next thing I know, I have wasted 30 minutes here and 40 minutes there watching cat videos or debating what color The Dress really is or just moving around piles of stuff on my kitchen table — and I haven’t necessarily added anything to my life or to the lives of those around me.

So I’m going to start trying to do things more deliberately around here – paying attention/time and money only on those things that are most important and necessary.

I bet you’ll hear about this again over the next 31 days as I write here as part of the Slice of Life Challenge. If you’re here because of that, thank you in advance for your comments. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the link here for more information and consider joining in as today is the first day.


22 thoughts on “The Bigger Picture

  1. Interesting how a word can jump out at us from a conversation and provoke such deep thinking. The writing helps sort it all out. Good luck…as you already know, it’s hard to make sure we aren’t wasting time or money, when both are so easy to spend without thinking at all.

  2. Sometimes we just need to do something for ourselves. I can usually rationalize some things. If I buy a book, when I finish it I can donate it to a book sale for someone else to enjoy. If I eat out I will sometimes bring leftovers home giving me two meals for the price of one. Of course, being paid just once a month does mean I need to really think about where I spend my money. I think we could all probably be better managers of our time and resources. Good luck, Cindy.

    • I heard somewhere from someone many moons ago that human beings are bottomless pits of self-justification. There’s a lot of truth to that. I often rationalize that the books go into my classroom, that getting take-out or going out to eat is good for my soul, that I really DO need that color of nail polish because I don’t think I have anything quite like it yet (this is never true). I think I need to put some kind of warning or lock on my MAC card and save that money for something more important down the line. I’m sure I’ll still buy an inordinate amount of books…because, well, I’m me. But the other stuff? I think I can cut back.

  3. Cindy, I love the way you weave this story…letting me follow you around and listen to your thoughts. They are convicting thoughts. I’m glad you took the time to craft this.

  4. Getting ready to sell our house and buy a new one means that I’ve been looking a lot closer at how we’re spending our money. No new books for me (library books only), Starbucks once a week, buying less meat and more beans and lentils at the grocery… every little bit adds up. I should be paying more attention to time, too, but my brain can only handle so much! Good luck!

    • All of this was sparked because Jason had to buy a new car. He was wondering if we could afford the payment and that’s when he stumbled across this discrepancy between our bills and income and our savings. Time to get our priorities straight and try to set a good example for the kid.
      And libraries LOVE us when we come and borrow their books. Especially when we send them new borrowers to look for what we just read and talked up.

  5. I love your visual of your husband asking where the money goes and you slowly return the binder clips to their peg. We’ve all been there, I’m sure. Love your slice.

  6. I think this same thing has happened to me. The vision of the binder clips getting placed back on the hook was all too familiar! Mindful = good. I’ll be glad to read reminders from you this month — I really enjoyed this slice.

    • I’m sure that the reminders will keep cropping up. The hubs and I decided to start with a little allowance for real this week. $10 to decide how we’ll use it – for jeans day donation or saving to go out to eat with friends in a week… Hoping that will get the spending part to be a bit more focused. The time? I don’t want to live and die by a schedule, but I do think it’s time to reboot the Bullet Journal and keep track of how I am spending my time.

  7. I like your details tossed in here. Made it very visual and so easy to relate.

    Then there’s this, “Sometimes the 10,080 minutes gets spent just as wastefully as my money and it bothers me. I fall into a rut and don’t prioritize how I want to spend it and the next thing I know, I have wasted 30 minutes here and 40 minutes there watching cat videos or debating what color The Dress really is or just moving around piles of stuff on my kitchen table — and I haven’t necessarily added anything to my life or to the lives of those around me.” Yup. So good and kind of hurts putting it this way. Looking forward to slice month with you!

  8. Yay! I found a fellow Nerdy who is also a slicer! I can totally identify with the money issue. My husband and I started an allowance system a few years ago, and it seems to help. As far as the time thing goes, if you can some how figure out a way to make more, that would be greatly appreciated. My nails are chipped. I haven’t talked to my sister in weeks. And my stack of papers to grade continues to grow. Thanks for reminding me I’m not alone in the struggle. Excited to follow your blog. And try not to “should” on yourself. It’s dangerous and unproductive.

    • Not doing too much of the “should” thing — just trying to readjust my attitude. The Time-Turner is broken so I’m limited to the 10,080 minutes just like everyone else. Not apologizing for catching up on last week’s Mindy Project while i was working on other stuff this morning. But the money thing is long overdue to be worked on.
      There are several Nerdy folks who are doing SOL15. Keep your eyes open for some familiar names.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s