I live a relatively practical and frugal lifestyle. I drive a car that's small, but gets great gas mileage. I turn off the lights when I leave the room and I turn down the air, when no one is home. I recycle and save jars to reuse as canisters or containers for holiday baked goods. I grew up in a time when money was tight and with my father in construction, we didn't always know when he'd finish a job how long it would be before the next one. There were many nights of macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We were always cared for, but money was something I learned to respect.
As an adult I haven't always been good with my money. When I began earning my own, I rebelled against my childhood fears of poverty by splurging and sometimes spoiling myself. Those spending habits didn't last long before the reality of poverty set in again.
Now I know the real power of money is that it offers options. Not happiness. Just more options. Even though I struggle with every paycheck, like so many these days, every now and then I have to splurge. When I rented a car recently I had a choice between a practical midsize sedan or a convertible. The cost was $23.13 for twenty four hours. I chose the convertible.
I drove down interstate 75 with the moon shining over my shoulder and the wind blowing through my hair. It was the perfect end to a long day and month. I cranked up the volume on the car stereo as the ideal song began to play.
"On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair.
Warm smell of colitas rising up through the air.
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light."
~ Hotel California
Whenever you get the chance, choose the convertible. It makes the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches worth it.