I still think about my first car. It was a red Toyota Tercel with a hatchback. I had black and grey racing stripes put on the exterior to match the black and grey sport seats. After I purchased the car, it took me another year of savings to have a pop-up sunroof installed. I loved driving it everywhere. This was my freedom on wheels.
Then reality set in. Monthly car payments, license fees, winter tires, maintenance, registration fees, gas, and insurance. Ugh! All of a sudden my freedom was very, very costly. At this point I realized that I had to take very good care of my car so when it was time to sell it, I could make some money back. My money! Seriously… I wanted as much as I could possibly get.
Many years later…
Oh, how I loved owning my first home. I was “house poor” for years and I loved it. The mortgage payments forced me to save money and at the same time I owned more of my home monthly. I kept that home super clean and I knew every inch of it. I never wanted to sell it, but my “dream home” had a fireplace which this house didn’t have. I kept this home clean and in excellent condition because I wanted to get as much money out of it when it was time to sell. My money! As much as I could possibly get.
In time I have come to realize that gifts are always great to receive, but the gifts you pay for and give to yourself have much more meaning. The hard work that is involved in earning money makes what you spend your money on so much more meaningful.
When I went on my first vacation I reveled from the hard earned money that was in my pocket. I also suffered pain when I had to spend it. Before I bought anything I asked myself if I really needed it, like really needed it. Purchasing food and shelter was the only exception.
Now that I’m older and I’ve passed through the fabulous firsts of many grateful ownerships, I’ve come to realize another awareness level of ownership. The ownership of ourselves in terms of our behavior. Do we own what we say and do? Are we accountable for our behavior? Owning who we are as a person is one of the greatest forms of ownership.
It’s not important to own material items, it’s profoundly important to own yourself. Being fiscally accountable for your material things is very responsible. Being accountable for your behavior is being responsible to YOU.
We’ve all done things we wished we didn’t do. Hurt people we didn’t intend to hurt. Perhaps said stupid things the little voice in our head told us not to say. No one is perfect. Actually we are all quite impurfect.
The importance here is “owning” what you do and being accountable which will make all the difference. You can own everything the world has to offer, but owning yourself is the truest acquisition!
Do you really own yourself? Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
1. Am I as accountable for my personal finances as much I am for myself?
2. When I do something wrong, am I accountable? Do I own the behavior and reflect on it?
3. Does my behavior affect others in a negative way? If so, have I acknowledged this and tried to change it?
4. Do I spend more time on material items than I spend on my personal self?
5. Do I realize what I do and say and how this reflects me as a person?
Here is something else to try which will give you a greater personal perspective. Record your voice for a day. Hear what you say, how you say it, and how it is interpreted. A personal recording will definitely enlighten your perspective of yourself. I’ve done this and it was quite an eye opener!
Be true to thyself, own it.
Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an author/writer/columnist/educator. She contributes every Monday morning to the West Island Blog’s Keeping it Real Column.
She is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban newspaper. She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. She lives in Montreal, Canada with her 3 children, Allyn, Taylor, and Duke and her husband Laurie. Suzanne contributes regularly to West Island Blog under her column Keeping it Real. Please visit her website www.suzannereislerlitwin.com to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.