My last post evoked a storm of controversy. Why did I let my ex-husband “off the hook from paying child support and alimony?”… “ It’s his responsibility!” … “You needed the money!”…
All true. Nonetheless, I decided not to choose that path. Perhaps it was pride—I wanted to be able to stand on my own feet, rather than be a burden to someone. Perhaps I wanted to avoid the mental anguish to count on payments that might not come or I might have to plead for. Time is too precious for that.
It’s true, I had no assets, but I had landed a job. Money was not of prime importance to me, probably because I grew up in Europe where you do not mention the word. The focus is on values, education, manners and consideration for others.
For me this path felt right. I had confidence in the future. I was willing to work hard, I wanted a happy and harmonious life for my children and me. Staying within our means was a small price to pay. Obviously, this approach is not for everyone.
True, we didn’t wear the latest fashion! Our tight budget called for setting priorities. Ours were sports, art and music. I added moonlighting jobs and acquired second-hand tennis rackets and bicycles and later a fine, upright piano. It wasn’t a Grand, but it still sounds grand today. Instead of visits to the hairdresser I took first aid courses so I could join the Ski Patrol and we could ski—I still remember fondly the ball we had at ski swaps getting ready for the slopes.
This unconventional course of action allowed the children an unclouded and good relationship with their father and a cordial one for me during social functions when a father’s presence is important.
I have a tenant, a good-looking young woman with two children. Her rent is always late because her ex-husband hasn’t paid yet. One day she gave me his phone number so I could call and remind him—but no thanks. Every month the power company sends me a warning that they’ll turn off her utilities—luckily that’s not my problem either. Eventually, the rent does arrive, but I feel sorry for the constant stress she suffers.
Life calls on us daily to make choices. Some are easy and automatic. Others require thought when a solid foundation is helpful to make wise decisions—something permanent and indestructible like values, because our rational mind is willing to justify just about anything.
May you be fortunate in making yours,