Saturday, May 4, 2013

"But not yet. . . "

Saint Augustine is frequently quoted as offering God the prayer, in his early wild days, "Give me chastity and continence, but not yet." Lately I hear all too many echoes of Augustine's plea in my own life.  There are so many things I want to do to change my life for the better, things I am really truly planning on doing SOON - but not quite yet.

The most urgent one right now has to do with my financial life. I have my heart set on transitioning away from two decades of juggling dual careers as philosophy professor and children's book author to a professional path focused on my writing. To do this I need to save money. More precisely, I need to save a lot of money. Fortunately, I know exactly how to do this from reading a blog that I (and tens of thousands of other readers) adore: Mr. Money Mustache. Mr. Money Mustache, who himself retired at age thirty (!), dispenses volumes of pithily worded advice on how to achieve a rich, full, joyous, environmentally sustainable life through measures such as reducing reliance on cars, "in-sourcing" home repairs, cooking rather than eating out, and much, much more. He delivers "face punches" to "complainypants" people who moan about why they absolutely have to maintain their bloated lifestyle even as they wail bitterly about how many more years they have to toil at jobs they hate to earn the money to pay for it.  How I want to follow all the wise exhortations of Mr. Money Mustache!

But not quite yet.

I keep telling myself that after I come home from my two years in Indiana, I'll start following the Mr. Money Mustache path. But I just spent almost $300 to fly back to Colorado for the weekend, when I'll be home for good in only a few more weeks. On my way home I had my favorite indulgence of a glass of wine and nice chopped salad at an airport bar - I do so love sitting in airport bars! That cost $20 with tip. Last night I spent $92 taking my family out to dinner. I have two more non-necessary (but sure to be fabulously fun) short trips coming up in the next few weeks, one to see my sister in New Jersey and one to see a dear friend from high school who lives in Ohio. Total tab for airfare for both trips: over $500. 

I'm not at all sorry I came home for the weekend or that I'm going on these next two trips. Family and friends are important. It's even hard to regret that pleasant hour in the airport bar. I do regret the $92 dinner, as I could have made a dinner at home that would have been equally enjoyable for a fifth of the price. But even the things I don't regret come at a price, the price of delaying other dreams. And I want those other dreams, I really truly do. And I want them before I'm too old to enjoy them. 

So when I come home to Colorado for good in late June, things are going to be different. No more restaurant meals! No more airport bars! No more trips? Well, not for a while, at least. I'm going to follow the Mr. Money Mustache path. I am!

But not quite yet....


  1. Hi, Claudia, just wanted to tell you I love Mr. Money Mustache, too. I was also a big fan of Jacob Fisker of Early Retirement Extreme (he is no longer posting, but the archives are worth browsing).

    - Elizabeth L.

  2. Thanks, Elizabeth! I will look for Jacob F. But of course the main thing I need to do is to stop reading these financial blogs and actually follow some of their advice.....