DH = Dear Husband
DD2 = Dear Second Daughter
DFF = Debt-Free Friend
Others’ travel → my envy
One of my sisters told me that she, her husband, and their three children were going to go out west for a ski vacation in February. I found myself stifling a surge of envy. Ashamed of it, I forced a pleasant response and asked about details of the planned trip. It seems that everyone I know is traveling! A friend from work spent Christmas with her husband’s family in County Cork, Ireland. She brought back a tea towel for me. It serves as a reminder that my children have never seen the farm in County Cavin, Ireland from which my paternal grandfather, aged sixteen, moved to Canada over 100 years ago. My new Irish tea towel sits in the same kitchen drawer as a tea towel from Australia given to me by another friend. It reminds me that I’ve never been to Australia.
I don’t usually feel envious when people do things or buy things that I long for. At such times I generally feel an “It can be done!” encouragement – an inspiration by example. But I’m finding it hard to muster up encouragement and inspiration these days. A small step back gives some perspective. It’s the dead of winter; the days are short; and these past few weeks, it’s a season short on charm. We’ve gone from extreme cold snap to bizarre, rainy warm spell – with nothing in between. Both extremes leave the ski hills and skating venues inaccessible. And the powdery snow that made our city an idyllic Christmas card in December has melted and frozen over, transforming everything into a treacherous wasteland of slush and ice. Add to this the ongoing labour situation in which I am caught up as a teacher. Add to that the aggressive flu strains that have invaded most households this winter – including ours. It’s just not a really chipper time.
So the idea of escape is very appealing. DFF, the debt-free friend who inspired our journey out of debt last spring (see post “Closing In On Debt #1), is now in Florida with her four children, soaking up the sun. She is financing the trip with money she has saved, of course. When we make our first big family trip, it will be when we are debt-free and when we are able to finance it with money we have saved. It just seems a very, very long way off at this point. In the meantime, we’ll keep on keeping on. I started a gratitude journal this week, probably as an attempted antidote to these winter blues, and of course there are plenty of things to write in it. DD2, for instance, is doing so well in her sport. She recently found out that she is to be the recipient of a generous bursary for promising young athletes. And she is getting a little taste of travel herself – competing in New York City this week-end. I’ll let her adventure be my escape.
2nd slice out of Debt #3
My brother, his wife, and three children smile at me from a photo on our fridge, the Rocky Mountains rising up behind them on a clear day that was part of their trip to the west coast last summer. I will do my best to be happy for friends and family who travel. And I will try to remain committed to and satisfied with the choices we are making to pay down our debt. DH had a strong start to 2013 with his business in January. Our second slice out of Debt #3 was $4,500. That kind of money could finance a nice little trip – but instead, we’re using it to bring down the business debt. It sat at $80,800 two months ago, and it’s already down to $66,300. We’re on the right path, and although it’s a path that won’t bring us to a get-away location any time soon, it’s ushering us to a position from which we’ll have lots of freedom to travel. And when we do, there will be tea towels for everyone.