This post is a mind meander, where I get thinking about things, how the world is, how different people make different choices, and where I fit in with that. Spending hours upon hours with other families, singles coworkers, and a variety of friends and neighbors sure makes me realize life is not one size fits all. I have a thirtyish coworker who in the last 12 1/2 months has been to Bali and Indonesia, Arizona and Colorado, Japan and Korea, and is currently in Hawaii. She and her partner have no children and other than their jobs, no specific commitments. Another coworker has taken off an equivalent amount of vacation time, though from what she has shared, she ventured only as far as North Dakota to visit one of her daughter's family, and the rest have been stay-cation time off. She's stated she has no interest in traveling, having been born in poverty in another country, and feeling like she has all she wants to see relatively close to her home. What we all choose to spend money on for our children and families varies widely as well. I received an audibly loud gasp talking with a parent Saturday when she learned that DD2 not only is going to Costa Rica, but went to Spain last year, and that we as a family have been to Alaska and Washington DC in the last years. This was part of a conversation in which she had shared her family was planning to attend an RV show on Sunday and look at upsizing their current camping trailer, already a luxurious model, fully equipped for home away from home living. I have no interest in owning another thing that will require maintenance, but give me the opportunity to travel, or send my kids on opportunities, and I am there.
Investing in travel or investing in recharging your batteries within your own spaces, two very different ways to think about where to spend leisure time and money. Ones not right, or more right than the other, and is and should be personal to each of us. Likewise, the family that chooses to keep one adult at home, at the expense of vacations or leisure equipment of any kind, has equally made choices that fit their life the best. I make regular trade offs, some might call sacrifices, so that we can do even what I feel is the modest amount of traveling we do. It didn't escape me that the other mom was much more stylishly pulled together, with manicured nails and trendy leather boots, while I was in five year old, stretched out boots, bargain leggings and an extra long sweater from Target.
We'll eat our bargain pantry meals this week. I'll carefully wash, dry, and hang up our eon's old clothing and hope to stretch them through the remainder of the cooler weeks. We have a few items that need to be bought. DH needs new work shoes and DD2 needs a new swim suit before her trip, but that is likely the only spring/summer items we will purchase until required. I'm still hunting, though not robustly due to our illness weeks, something that we can repurpose into a T.V. stand. It would be so easy to head to a few furniture stores and find the right size and look, but I know I can find something I like more, for a lot less, with some patience. The difference might be worth a weekend get away.
I wonder if my coworker has experienced the questioning eye that a thirty-something would choose travel over home ownership? Does the other parent feel judgement over not sending her children on any of the school travel events, as I felt a twinge of perceived judgement about being over indulgent? It's irrelevant, and I need to keep telling myself that. We have enough of what we need, and if we want more, or sooner, we will need to keep making choices that are best for just our family. I don't need to feel guilty about indulging our daughter's love for travel,nor guilty that she is wearing the same three pars of blue jeans form last year, still a perfect fit and in fine wear. Our family is unique to others. How we spend our money, our priorities, is unique. It's OK to not be like others, or want to be like other families. We just need to keep making our money work for our life.