If you have ever had a cat, you will realize that they are basically constantly cleaning themselves. This never-ending grooming process can range from seeming amusing to seeming downright obsessive. They just don’t stop! My wife and I especially notice how our girl cat will frequently snuggle up with us in bed and then an instant later begin a fit of intense self-licking, without any regard for how it impacts us (surprise, surprise: I have found that cats generally act in this way).
Obviously, lots of animals (maybe all?) spend lots of time cleaning themselves. I also think of ducks on the water, constantly preening their feathers.
Well anyway, I was at the cafe last week, doing my thing, which consists of planting myself at a table and writing generally for up to 3 hours. I was writing about our finances–something I do often, and have reported on here–when I realized something: the way I “obsess” over our money is a lot like those ducks and my cat! I’m preening!
Previously, I had sometimes been embarrassed or uncomfortable about my preoccupation with our numbers. I thought, “Am I over-obsessive about this? Most other people don’t think about this nearly as much as I do?”
But then I realized– I’m just self-grooming! Just like our cat, who spends probably 1/3 of her waking time cleaning herself, I spend an inordinate amount of time going over our numbers, tracking money in and out, writing or reading about finances, fantasizing about achieving our financial goals, and daydreaming about prosperity.
The fact is, by and large, this activity is a lot of fun for me (if it isn’t, then I just adjust to get back in balance). More importantly, it contributes to a sense of peace and well-being in my life. It’s just how I’m wired, I guess: my thoughts about money have been a key trigger in my life, whether for good or not. For my whole adulthood I have been especially eager to have this part of my life handled.
I finally made the connection that being routinely focused on money, especially money management and investing is a sort of self-care ritual. Sure, it’s not for everybody. But neither is licking oneself incessantly.
I have learned that a component of my happiness is performing empowering rituals that satisfy me. By and large, thinking about our money–the continuous job of steward for our finances–gives me an essential baseline sense of security and satisfaction. I feel I am ensuring continual progress toward our goals and taking care of something important.
I figure the ducks and cats would understand 😉