If you want to travel you must make a choice.” At 15 I loved listening to my friend’s mom whose adventures entertained two freckle-faced teenagers.“You either save and use the money to travel or you spend it on your back, clothes and shoes.”
That challenge ignited a dream. I wanted to travel more than a bee wants honey. My first paycheck after college,.I began to save for a trip to Europe. Each meal I didn’t eat out became a meal overseas. Vacation savings grew. My goal allowed one treat to Macdonald’s—once a month.
Stoking my ambition were the patients with dashed retirement dreams who would look up at the young spindly nurse from their beds. “Don’t put off today what you think you want to do tomorrow. You never know what your health will be like when you retire. “Make sure you live your life so you don’t have regrets looking back.” How grateful I am to those people for their perspective and bed of suffering to speak into my youth.
I trekked a backpack trip to Europe that remains a wonderful memory and included seeing relatives who passed soon after.
Saving for retirement and traveling when I could was not always the most prudent thing. Once upon returning to further education I had time but no money. Five weeks of travel in Israel, Greece, Egypt and Rome on plastic took two years to pay off. A poor financial move, but I was young. Egypt was safe at the time. I gladly made the payments later.
True if I had saved more intensely those early years, it would have multiplied for these later years. But there’s a balance in everything. And now with health limits myself, those travel experience prove irreplaceable. Those were my International study, poly sci and sociology classes wrapped up in one. I discovered God was as close to me 2000 miles away as at home and the community of believers are all over the world.
By the mid thirties those carefree years were over. Responsibilty ruled and prudence. Time to settle down and save for retirement. A season of life had passed and I knew it.
The advice of my girlfriends mother rang true. Clothes can eat our money. A house or condo can too. It is easy to be a material girl in a material world…but it can rob us. Who can tell if we wear clothes from consignment shops, or garage sales? Or that our furniture is a mixture of new and used?
If we are enjoying the fruits of our labor, God has given us enough to share. Scripture says, “those who gathered more had nothing over and those who gathered little had no lack.” There’s probably enough that we can choose to not add another dress or lamp or book and support a child in another country who has nothing. No shoes. No schoolbooks. Not enough food.
If we have change, a car and food in the refrigerator we are the top 2% of the world.
So let us enjoy what we have been given financially and pursue our dreams with choice and with cost. Hopefully in our financial planning we will include benefitting others to pursue their dreams too, so we may all live together grateful to God for the opportunities he has given us.
“Young man, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do. Take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do…don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator…” Ecclesiastes 11:9 , 12:1