I met my husband through a personal ad. Yep, honest. Our first face to face meeting was at the St. Louis Science Center. We met there to watch the movie Everest at the OmniMax.
After enjoying the movie,we walked around a bit and talked. Okay okay, since it was 17 years ago this month, I can say we walked around and began the process of falling in love. But while we were there Ben walked over to the squished penny machine and purchased a commemorative Penny. (Big spender right?).
The next smashed penny we purchased together was at our wedding in Sedona, Arizona. He made me close my eyes and he guided me over to the machine that he had previously spied. And since that time we have made a habit of getting a smashed penny on pretty much every adventure. I don’t know how much money we have spent on smashed penny’s as each one costs .51 cents. But it’s been a very wise investment. Each serves as a reminder not only of the event where we make the purchase, but of the way it all started. The way building our fortune began.
So let me tell you about our fortune. Shortly after I had our first son, I was ambivalent about going back to work. I was concerned that it would be problematic financially if I stayed off for an extended period. Ben told me at that time in response to my worrying “Mary, we are the wealthiest people I know.” He was referring of course, to the immense joy that had just come into our lives- a healthy beautiful baby. We were both healthy, we had a roof over our heads and not much to complain about. He was right.
Our fortune has continued to grow- both with our second son, and our lives in general. We have relationships we value, the opportunity to laugh often, and Ben and I are both lucky enough to have work that we both feel passionate about. Are we lucky? Sure we are. And we work at it; somedays more than others. But more than the presence of any of these gifts, or the absence of any significant tragedy, is the presence of an attitude we both work towards embracing as often as we can.
Whatever is or isn’t we have control only over that, which we think and conclude about, what is and isn’t in our lives. Every event that occurs is subject to interpretation. You can feel victimized by events or blessed by them. It’s always a choice.
Easy to do when the good stuff is happening. Harder to do when its not. But growth occurs in BOTH circumstances, and again, good and bad are relative terms, often arbitrarily determined by our own personal filters. Bad is determined by “I’m not getting things to happen the way I want them to”. But when we let go of insisting that life result in very precise circumstances as we deem appropriate, we position ourselves to just open up to whatever life actually is. By removing the pre-determined outcome, we need not be thwarted because something didn’t turn out the way we planned.
This post is redundant if you’ve been reading for a while. It’s not that I don’t have other things to write about, but rather this is an idea that I feel we all need frequent reminding. The world is bombarding us minute by minute with the opposite message and so this one is easy to ignore. Unfortunately, doing so results in our ignoring the tools for creating our own contentment.
I don’t always like Ben and he doesn’t always like me. The house is often messy, something breaks, I lose my keys. The kids fight with each other and skip out on their homework. I don’t think anyone wants to make a reality TV show about us. We aren’t that interesting. That said, we are still, as Ben declared “The wealthiest people we know” and it began with one penny.