Oh That Money Thing

I think I’ve already discovered an interesting benefit of committing to posting everyday: I’m just not sure what I’m going to write about, so I have to look a bit deeper to find a topic. It is easy when I travel to Italy or visit a castle to know that is the next post whenever I finish writing it. But today was what has become a fairly standard day in my life in Innsbruck. Annie went off to daycare (although I usually take her, Markus did the honours today as I wanted to finish the page-turner I was almost done reading), I went to German class, spent the afternoon doing some chores, picked up Annie at 3:30 and then played with her for a bit. Not a bad life by any means, but not super blogworthy. But that opens me up to discuss other things that popped into my day.

Good friends Lori Stewart and Shawna Pachal (hi Lori and Shawna!), after listening to a presentation by Stephen Lewis, decided that all Christmas gifts this year for adults would be donations to the Stephen Lewis Foundation. I just love that. It is a wonderful way to honour friends in our lives. And I certainly know few people who need more things…certainly not me.

Moving to Austria has provided this family with a much, much needed re-evaluation of our finances and how we spend and (don’t) save money. We have scaled back significantly here, and are managing much better than before even though I’m not working.

And part of my reflections on finances is that I just really don’t need stuff as much as I used to think. I like to spend money on experiences like travel or excursions, materials for crafts, (which makes me very, very happy), books and reading material, and eating out a bit (although I haven’t minded cutting that down either). Annie wears beautiful hand-me-downs from her cousins, and Christmas and birthdays are sufficient for adding to the toy pile. I’m still figuring out the clothes thing; I want to update my sad little conservative wardrobe with some European style, but I don’t want to spend much doing it. For example, we are going to a very formal Viennese ball in the middle of November, and I just couldn’t bring myself to buy a new dress so am recycling one that is 8 years old. I compromised with new shoes ordered online from Ireland. I’m not sure what we are going to do when we have a new apartment, as I have absolutely no desire to spend a bunch of money on furniture. We’ll have to take that one as it comes I guess.

In addition to these personal musings, much of my downtime these days is spent viewing educational, fascinating, inspirational and motivational speeches on www.ted.com (waaaay more addictive than TV, let me tell you.) And these brilliant minds of our time are certainly not talking about how we can consume more or save up for a 4,000 sq ft home. Giving and helping and putting your love and energy out into the world to make it a better place is the message over and over again.

So will one gift to one organization change the world? I think maybe it will.