Mrs. Bgddy has lamented, on more than one tear-filled occasion, that we don’t “do better” financially. It’s not that we don’t do well, we do, but that we do not maximize our earning potential. There are several reasons for this. For instance, Mrs. Bgddy does not have a job. I work relatively set hours (from well before my wife and kids wake up until 4 pm at the latest). Only under extreme circumstances to I work late or on the weekends (almost never). I made a decision long ago that my kids wouldn’t know they’re dad only by the fact that they had to keep quiet when he comes home so I can catch a nap before a late dinner. My wife and I also made the decision that we would stick to a traditional upbringing of our kids rather than rely on daycare. The choices we make have consequences. We own a smaller home, though on a fantastic two acre lot, out in the country. We don’t live in a nice subdivision and we don’t have a lake or even lake access. We live, for two people with a great deal of earning potential, fairly simply compared to some of our friends.
On the other hand, I have a friend who has everything. He and his wife both work and are very successful. She works a decent amount of hours while he’s gone from sunup to sundown (in the middle of the summer). He works 15-16 hours a day, at least six days a week… On the other hand, they have everything. Huge house, new cars and just about any toy they could want. He was a cyclist as well. His rims cost more than my first three bikes cost me – combined. The choices we make do have consequences after all.
Of course, he doesn’t ride his bike anymore because he doesn’t have the time, so he’s as big as he’s ever been and he’s miserable about that. He rarely sees his daughter anymore, awake at least, and he’s pretty miserable about that. Oh, and he’s now on his way to turning himself into a drunk, “just to take the edge off” – so everybody’s pretty miserable about that.
All too often we compare what we have with what others have without looking at what must be sacrificed to have those things. We have a tendency to believe that everyone who has money had it handed to them, as if they won the “life lottery” and everything is beaches, bikinis and bubbly… that’s all we can see from the outside. We don’t know people well enough, or don’t pay attention enough to see that to have that high yearly income, things must be sacrificed – and it’s all too often sanity.
So my wife and I had a conversation last weekend and she was teary eyed again, but for a different reason. She said that now she gets it, that she can see the full picture – and she’s glad that we made (and continue to make) the decisions that we do. Folks, it just doesn’t get any better than that. I’m a blessed man.
P.S. I did not misspell or misuse the word “Tail” in the title.