Sunday, February 15, 2009
A (Good) Sign of the Times
So Valentine's Day was definitely different this year.
Last year, Sarah and I went out to eat at a very nice restaurant near Fort Worth's arts district. Then we went dancing. I bought her a bouquet of flowers and left them on her front porch. She showed up with red roses and a chocolate covered strawberry when she picked me up for our date.
This year -- like so many people -- both of us are struggling with money.
But, as our teacher at the Buddhist temple says: A problem is only a problem if you see it that way in your mind. You should never be upset by a problem. If there's a remedy for the problem, you should be happy that there's a remedy and start working toward the remedy. If there's not a remedy, you shouldn't be upset about the problem because there's nothing you can do about it anyway and being upset will only disturb your inner peace. Seen that way, problems become challenges instead of problems.
So our tight budgets don't upset us. They just force us to be creative. There are many remedies to a Valentine's Day without a lot of spending money. A.) Don't celebrate, just skip it. B.) Do something special for very little money.
I made four dozen red velvet cupcakes, decorated them with heart sprinkles, and sneaked them into her office at work so she could share the sweets with her staff. She wrote me a wonderfully sweet list of 25 reasons why she loves me. We made an awesome dinner at her house and enjoyed it by candlelight.
Cheaper? Oh yes. Less romantic? Absolutely not.
Lack of money isn't a problem. Lack of money just makes you think outside the box. You don't have to blow a bunch of cash at a restaurant to be romantic.
The economic downturn might be terrible. It is a very real crisis. People are losing their homes and their jobs. But they are also losing that extra spending power that allows them to just throw money at their problems. Kids acting up? Just buy them another Wii game. Trouble with the wife? Just buy her a diamond necklace.
And what about spending quality -- and super-cheap or free -- time at the park together? What about long walks, or cute notes, or a nice, homemade meal? Personally, I think there's a silver lining in all this economic drama. Call it a nice side effect. Without money to spend at the mall or on a new flat screen TV, we might just be forced to be with each other more instead.
Just a thought...
I hope everyone had a beautiful Valentine's Day!