Well, I had a seriously exciting experience this past Friday morning. Here’s a rundown of what happened, minute by minute:
Last weekend I decided it was finally time to go shopping for a pair of walking shoes. I’d been alternating between rain boots and regular boots for the past five months, but now the weather is getting a bit warmer, and there are days when wearing boots feels weird and constrictive. And my go-to walking shoes—a pair of Converse that I’d been wearing for six years straight—were literally falling apart. While I don’t have to dress up for work, I do need to look presentable, and that probably means no falling-apart shoes.
When I lived in China back in 2006-2007 I got around mostly by bike, as did many thousands of other people in my city. I never once wore a helmet, because no one else did. And that’s why it was extremely lucky that when I eventually got into an accident I did not land on my head. (Side note: As someone who is now older, wiser, and has worked in a hospital brain injury unit, I implore you to never, ever ride a bike without a helmet.)
Instead, I landed on my tailbone. After a few seconds of sitting stunned on the concrete, I stood up and walked the couple of steps to the curb. The guy on the electric bike who had hit me stopped to see if I was okay, and I told him I was. But the next morning I was in too much pain to go to work. So I took a taxi to the hospital. My Chinese friend Sylvia met me at the hospital to translate—a kindness for which I will be forever grateful, since I didn’t know enough Chinese to communicate anything useful, other than saying the word for “bicycle” and pointing at the base of my spine.
Do you like to read? Books, I mean. Do you like to read books?
I could be wrong, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the answer is probably yes. I’m basing this on my assumption that there’s a fairly sizable overlap in the Venn diagram of people who read blogs for fun and people who read books for fun.
Okay, next question: Do you currently, or have you ever in your life, owned a large book collection?
This post was inspired by Maggie at Northern Expenditure, who had the very cool idea of making a “fill-the-bucket” list and encouraging other bloggers to do so too. A fill-the-bucket list is different than a regular bucket list: rather than a list of things you want to do, it’s a list of cool things you’ve already done. The idea is to celebrate the opportunities you’ve already taken, rather than putting pressure on yourself to accomplish certain things within a specific timeframe.
This past semester I taught a very content-heavy course in which the students’ grades were based mostly on their performance on three long, involved exams. I know from experience, both as a student and as an instructor, that it can be surprisingly easy to accidentally miss a question, or even a whole page, on an exam. So in an attempt to prevent this, I emphasized to the students each time that it was their responsibility to check their exams over carefully before turning them in, to make sure they hadn’t missed any questions.
Let’s talk about Ebenezer Scrooge, being that it’s December and all. I don’t know how long it’s been since you’ve read A Christmas Carol (or watched the 1992 Muppet movie version of it, which by the way is fantastic), but Scrooge is actually a pretty complex guy. He experiences fear and regret and loneliness, just like anyone. He has memories of love—and of heartbreak. And most importantly, he courageously allows himself to undergo a deep and genuine transformation in a very short period of time, becoming a much kinder, more generous, and more caring person.
When talking about financial choices and financial philosophies, narrative is key. Most people who are thinking consciously about money have a story that ties the different phases of their life together and helps them understand their financial journey thus far. I have a story like this. Perhaps you do too.