The older I get, the more I have come to the realization that there are two kinds of people in this world, 1.) Givers and 2.) Takers. Seems pretty obvious, right? After years of helping many friends and family out, whether it be with loaning money, babysitting, paying for things, helping them move, even opening up my home for them to stay; it seems like I have taken my husband on a roller coaster ride of extra chaos because I am the kind of person that always wants to help and needs to feel needed.
The only problem that comes with this, is eventually, at some point burnout happens; happened. When giving isn't enough anymore, when there is no reciprocal return. When I need help there is suddenly a very small number of people I can honestly rely on. Asking for help is not something I am good at. So over the past year I am the first person to admit I have become increasingly bitter about helping out, realizing that even though its wonderful to give, if it becomes to much of a burden or stress on my own family; its not worth it. My children and husband and our well being are number one. Mostly our stress is financial, like so many out there. We aren't struggling to meet day to day costs of living, we can pay all of our fixed bills and we always have food on the table. But we have managed part in poor spending habits, and part in helping others too much, to accrue a credit card balance that is much larger than should be. I wrote last month a little bit about our family's budget goals so we can pay off our debt as soon as financially possible and ultimately begin saving for my goal of Italy. (You can read about that HERE.)
Long story short I have felt drained the past few months; felt like when I announced that I am trying to better myself and my family and I need moral support from friends and family...well, I felt abandoned. On a positive note it has helped my draw closer to my husband and children; our family unit.
We had a wonderful relaxing weekend this last week with no schedules to worry about. Sunday afternoon we took the kids to the park and then headed over to Grocery Outlet to pick up a few things. I had already withdrawn the amount of cash from the bank that I wanted to spend there. But you know how shopping goes, especially with three children. The shopping cart had more things in it then my pocketbook said was allowed. So I stood there in an isle, adding prices up, and figuring out which items needed to be returned. If any of you have children, or have shopped with kids, you know how *relaxing* it can be ;). Anyways, my husband had about four items we decided to put back, and I headed towards the checkout.
I turned around to one of the checkers calling for me. She said,
"Excuse me ma'am, but someone just gave you this gift card for $25."
I was in shock.
I didn't know whether to be grateful, happy, or embarrassed. All of the sudden I noticed others in the store glancing my way. I thanked the girl and accepted the gift. I didn't know if whoever purchased the gift card was still there watching. I was glad that I had an extra $25 to help out with our purchase, but there was a little part inside of me that was embarrassed, What did they think? Did they think that I can't pay for my own food? Did they feel sorry for my children? Accepting gifts is not something I do easily, and those negative thoughts crept into my head.
But last night as I was laying in bed the day's activities were rolling through my brain, and a feeling of peace came into my mind.
"Wouldn't you do the same if you were in the financial position to do so? It isn't about judging someone else, it isn't about feeling sorry for them. Its about paying it forward. It's Karma. It's life."
The greatest gift we can do for another person is give them something that they need, knowing there is absolutely no way the favor can be returned from that person, no way they can thank you, no way you will get any reward or recognition.
That small act of kindness that person gave me helped renew my faith. Knowing that there are others out there like me gives me the extra strength to keep plunging forward.
Whoever you are, thank you. Someday I will pay if forward for you.