Today marks two weeks since Jason was laid off. I haven't written about it here because we needed to work on things privately first. To panic. To rally. To see this as an opportunity for phoenix-like rebirths and reassessments. And to mourn a bit as I realize our "after the wedding" plans have now become "after Jason finds a job" plans and expenses. With the wedding finally done, I was ready to move on and move forward. But now, we're hunkering down and pulling back even more than before.
And it's really okay. Curveballs beget mental and emotional flexibility (and physical flexibility, I suppose, if you're using literal baseball speak). Crises really do bring you closer and remind you of what's actually important.
Financial crises also force you to make choices. Hard choices about what to cut and what to keep in your budget. But at the same time, they also make you treasure the Yes choices so much more. Scrimping makes me positively gleeful about splurges like farmer's market strawberries or a nice glass of happy hour wine with a special girlfriend. Finding free outdoor musical performances within walking distance of our apartment feels like a boozy picnic jackpot instead of a nice afternoon.
There are lots of ways to make budgeting an adventure, especially because we have the luxury of one salary that can take care of our basic needs. But there are still moments when fear and frustration pushes in at the edges. When I get resentful of waiting again. When I forget to feel lucky and wallow in the grump. And that's why I believe in splurges. That's why I don't always believe in hunkering down with the "No" of our changed financial situation. The No is important, but the Yes even more so. And this weekend, we're saying YES. Oh hell yes.
This weekend, we're taking back our birthdays. Jason spent his April birthday recovering from our Guatemala honeymoon (we arrived home at 1am that morning.) I spent my May birthday recovering from New York and then working (we got home at 4am after a delayed flight and I was at work by 9). We got through the jet lag with promises of make-up birthday celebrations at a special (expensive) restaurant we've been desperate to try. We had to make reservations weeks in advance. So we did. And then Jason got laid off.
When we started slashing our budget, I spent a long moment considering whether we should cancel our birthday dinner. The panics were telling me to stash away that $100 for prudence's sake. But the rest of me screamed back a giant EFF YOU, WE'RE CELEBRATING OUR DARN BIRTHDAYS, DARNIT. Because I've needed something to look forward to and celebrate. And it really isn't as dire as the panics want me to believe. We have enough for our rent and bills, with something left over for strawberries. We have two fluffy kitties who keep Jason company as he looks for jobs and takes on some freelance projects. We have long summer nights and a cold June haze that finally seems to be burning away. And, if you want to be all sappy about it, we have each other too (and trust me, we are definitely all sappy about it.)
This weekend, we have a dinner at Osteria Mozza, where we are taking time to revel in the joys and celebrations of life. So happy weekend everyone, and here's a little reminder to get out there and celebrate, just because.