FFCF and I (with kittens) back in the day.
DD2 = Dear Second Daughter
FFCF = Financially Free Childhood Friend
DD3 = Dear Third Daughter
DH = Dear Husband
Arranging a “thank you” dinner
“When you are next in [the city] let us know. We’d like to host you for a ‘Thank you’ dinner for your support of [DD2]. Maybe you and your mom could come over? And my mom too?” I sent the e-mail message to a childhood friend of mine – financially independent for over 10 years now (I’ll call her FFCF for Financially Free Childhood Friend). She had given generous financial support to DD2, who is training for her sport at an intensive level, and I wanted to show our appreciation.
“I would love to come for dinner,” she responded. “And I will ask my Mom to join. I will be in [the city] probably the third week of April and I will touch base with you then.” The third week of April came and went with no visit. FFCF had sprained her knee (on a boat in Florida as it turns out – hazards of financial freedom), and we’d have to have our dinner at a later date.
“Hey [Prudence], I’m in [the city] now. Any chance you’re free tomorrow evening?” The message showed up Friday. “Mom and I would like to pop over with some Indian food dishes. Shall we pick up your Mom and bring her with us? Let me know if you’re free my dear.” What happened to the idea of my preparing a supper to thank her? Hmmm . . . Could I really let her do this?
Ripple effect of hosting without cooking
I could imagine her thought process. She was giving me late notice, and as she told me later, “I didn’t want you to have the stress of cooking a meal for us after your week at work.” Relative to me, she lives a life of more leisure, and she would feel a lack of balance in my scrambling to get things ready. A generous person who is happy to give, she knew her support for DD2 had been appreciated, and the point now was to make the visit happen when it was possible.
I accepted FFCF’s offer – which had the ripple effect of allowing Saturday to be quite lovely. It wasn’t a lazy day; it just didn’t involve any rush. My day included gardening, a heart-to-heart chat with DD3, a great work-out at the gym with DH, some housework, some grocery shopping, and some blogging. It was a productive day, but not a stressed one. I didn’t feel, as is too often the case, that I had more items on my to-do list than time to do them. Supper itself was delicious, and cleaning up afterwards was nothing. It was great to do some catching up, to reminisce, and to see our moms looking so happy to be there with us and each other.
The “What now?” of financial goals
“What do you think you’ll do when you retire?” FFCF asked at one point. It’s a question I’ve been giving some thought to these past couple of days. Mrs. Frugalwoods wrote a post entitled “Is Frugality Sustainable Without A Goal?” last week, and it made me think it was time for me to clarify my vision of debt freedom and financial freedom. So far, my goal has been a negative: not to have debt. But what is it that I DO want to have? Not so clear.
When FFCF asked her question, I just said what came to mind. “I’ll sleep in,” I started, “and I won’t rush . . . I’ll take the dog for walks, go for work-outs, socialize more, do some traveling . . .” Then I looked at her. “I’ll pretty well do what you’re doing now.” There’s not a real WOW! factor to my vision of financial freedom, but I think it’s just lovely. I’ll play the piano again. I’ll read more. I’ll get into different kinds of cooking. I’ll write and teach in some capacity. I’ll support good causes and young athletes. And when I drop in on friends or family, I’ll bring Indian food.
Does your vision of financial freedom involve a WOW! factor? Do you find that frugality is tough to sustain? Your comment are welcome : )