Go Ahead and Scratch

I haven’t had much occasion to write about Dutch lately-  you may think that means he’s been behaving… but it only means that he hasn’t been misbehaving in any NEW ways lately.  This week though the poor little guy got himself a “hot spot.”  Just in case you don’t know, a hot spot on a dog is a sore that starts out small, but from scratching and licking at it becomes big, painful, and literally hot.  Luckily, his wasn’t so bad that it got infected, but we did have to try to keep him from scratching it, because the more he scratched, the worse it got.

Keeping him from scratching that itch wasn’t easy, because it was driving him crazy.  You just can’t reason with a dog to convince him he’d feel so much better later if he would forgo scratching now.  He doesn’t get the concept of delayed gratification (he doesn’t understand English either but that doesn’t stop me from talking to him).  We humans have a hard time with that too, but sometimes we try so hard to do the responsible thing and save our money for later that we forget to enjoy life today.  So rather than tell you all about how you shouldn’t buy every Apple product the day it comes out (although not bad advice), I’d rather talk about those things we should do today and not wait until tomorrow.

While there are plenty of financial decisions I regret, things I shouldn’t have spent money on and saved instead; there are also many dollars I’ve spent with zero regret, other than perhaps regretting not spending them sooner.

For instance, why in the world did we wait to waterproof our basement until right before we sold our house?  Sure, it was expensive, but so was all that stuff down there that got ruined in the meantime.  Those were definitely dollars I regretted not spending sooner.  It happens all the time, doesn’t it?  We fix up our house to sell it, and then it’s so nice we don’t want to leave!

I don’t regret spending money on taking my oldest son on a movie date to see “Home Alone” when he was 5; we didn’t have a lot of extra money for things like that but that one on one time with him was priceless.  I remember it like it was yesterday.

I don’t regret a single teddy bear bought for my daughter when she was sick (and I bought a lot).  Sure she was too old for teddy bears and that money could have been used for something practical, like a textbook, but it was one small thing that made her smile and made me feel like I was helping.

I don’t regret flying us all to Texas to see my youngest son graduate from Air Force Basic Military Training.  Airfare for four of us for a trip that lasted just a few days probably was impractical.  But I wouldn’t have missed that proud moment for the world.

When we’re motivated and working hard at saving for retirement, it can be easy to focus too much on the future, and forget that life isn’t about the end point, it’s about the journey.  We can’t live only for today; that would be irresponsible.  But there will be times we should put aside that intense focus on the future and take advantage of moments we have today that may not be here forever.

What have you spent money on that you don’t regret?



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