It has taken me three days to finally stop. Stop and focus on writing down my reflections regarding Rockonliving’s March Money Reset. I am guessing many of you can relate? Focus has been elusive. The arrival of COVID19 into the lives of everyone across the globe has impacted, disrupted and changed every single person’s life on the planet.
Not one system or routine we depend on to keep us moving forward hasn’t been stealthily invaded by this virus – and at lightening speed – morphing and changing life as we knew it. We have changed EVERYTHING we do and more significantly, how we do it. We are discovering a ‘new normal’ daily and navigating uncharted territory, together. We are living in something unprecedented (how many times a day do we hear that word now?) – we are living during a pandemic. Sound dramatic? It’s not. This is huge.
Call it serendipity or divine intervention, but my original March Money Reset could not have began at a more perfect time. Who knew that in a matter of one month, families, ours included, would need to dramatically look and scrutinize all purchases while unemployment numbers skyrocket and businesses close. Just earlier today, my husband has made the difficult decision to close his practice for the time being….although he is choosing to reframe it as “opening his practice in a new way” or “taking a healthy pause” vs. “close” because of what this virus has done – it has reset everything, everywhere, overnight.
It was like we were living on a planet that had glitched and a major “reset” was hit.
While I achieved, honestly, surpassed (we saved over 75% in spending for the month) – our financial goals for the month, that reset seems almost like a ‘best supporting actress’ or side note to a much larger Reset that occurred in the wake of the virus. I have been trying to organize and snythesize my my thoughts on how to share the results of the Reset. Originally, I was planning on sharing my thoughts and insights weekly from my journals. But, what I know for sure is this reset was/is way bigger than just money or my relationship to money.
I am grateful for the timing of the money reset because it provided some mental peace of mind knowing reckless or careless spending was not occurring and we had a financial “plan” for March before the date 3/11/20.
Before I address the bigger reset, here is a recap of the intention and plan for the March Money Reset and how the first two weeks of the reset went before the world flipped upside-down.
For much of February, I wrote, discussed and shared on IG with anyone who wished to join me information about embarking on a financial quest and spending freeze for the month of March. To join the Reset you needed to do three things:
1. Write your Spending Rules.
2. Tell people.
3. Journal or document Experience.
The book “The Year of Less” by Cait Flanders and “It’s Not Your Money” by Tosha Silver were my framework/support material for the reset. I knew I wanted to partner with material that worked from tools of intention setting, awareness and action.
I was delighted to have several friends join me on the Reset, and, as of today I had one friend who shared her calculated a savings of 61% last month in spending! That’s huge, ya’ll! Sustainable? Not sure. But, for sure created a change in habits that may continue.
The final week of February I found myself almost ‘panic’ shopping for some items that I knew I would not be “allowed” to purchase starting on March 1st. The last day of February ended with a symbolic final purchase. My final purchase was a gorgeous silver vase for our home from the The HomeGoods Store – she was a beauty. When I was checking out, I declined the offer of paper wrapping or a bag – see where I am going with this?
I placed her on the captain’s chair in our minivan behind my driver’s seat and as I did my turn out of the parking lot…yup, she sister-scooted right off the seat onto the floor and broke into a bunch of pieces. The very moment it happened, I laughed. I did! Rather than feel crushed over the loss of the vase and money, I took it as a god-wink that perhaps I was going to “smash” my March Money Reset starting the very next day. I didn’t go back and get another. I drove home, threw away the big pieces and shopvac’d the rest. That was last purchase I made (not on approved list) for 31 days!
Did I honor my list? Yes (and no). Let me explain. Overall, I totally met our Reset goals and then some. But, where some modifications made? Yes. And, did the arrival of the pandemic dramatically reduce our spending naturally? Yes. Some items on our approved spending list (a sweatshirt, hotel and take-out food for swim Sectionals in Atlanta, Georgia for Miko) were never purchased because the event was cancelled due to Covid19.
For the first two weeks of the reset (I will call this pre-Covid19) I honestly didn’t feel it was too difficult. I read over my journal entries and it seemed like I was enjoying an almost “honeymoon-phase” of the Money Reset. Each Monday I sent out a Monday Mindset Reset that focused on cleaning out areas of the home that were cluttered or unorganized. I cleaned out drawers, inboxes and closets.
Then, it happened. For us, and many, I will never forget when it began to hit you that something was coming…something we didn’t, and in many ways, still remains unknown.
Quinn, Kamiko and I had traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for Swim Sectionals. For those of you who are, or have children into sports, you know how much hard work, dedication and commitment it takes to achieve the time cuts to even attend these types of meets.
Kamiko, who is in her final few months of swimming in the 11-12 year-old age group qualified, for the first time, in events not only in her favorite stroke (butterfly). This was huge for her. So many of her teammates were positioned for potentially incredible swims. We arrived in Atlanta on Wednesday 3/11/20 as Miko’s first event, the 400IM, was scheduled for the next day.
We checked into our hotel and as we were in our room watching the news – stories of Covid19 just starting to surface, the stunning announcement by the NBA was made….they were cancelling the remainder of their season.
It was that moment we knew life was about to change, dramatically. I will never forget it.
Later that afternoon, Kamiko went to the Georgia Tech pool for some time in the pool. Her coaches would not arrive until the next day, so she did drills and sets to get her body and mind ready for the competition the following day.
We took Kamiko out to an Italian dinner and you could feel and see the uncertainty bubbling. This would be the last meal would would have out, in a restaurant, until this ends. Who knew.
We came back to the hotel, did our normal pre-swim meet rituals and went to bed.
We woke up, ate breakfast and Kamiko did her pre-swim rituals (carefully selected snacks/food/drinks, packing her swim bag) and we headed over to Georgia Tech Pool. We arrived along with swimmers and families from eight other states.
Kamiko had walked down to the pool deck and her team was stretching when I received a text from her coach – it said, “USA Swimming cancelling all swim meets for 30 days.” Stunned, I looked up and he locked eyes with me. It was a moment of recognition.
The coaches left the pool deck for a meeting while the kids kept stretching. After their stretching, they went behind the swim blocks to prepare to jump in water for warm-ups.
What happened next was surreal. The announcement was made to the kids that the meet was cancelled. The entire meet. They were going to have to leave, go home and that was it. It was heartbreaking to watch the wave of disappointment, tears and even some anger in the athletes as the news spread on deck.
Kamiko was so sad. She cried for a solid hour. As adults, we understand the bigger picture to things, but to these little people this IS the bigger picture.
We went back to hotel and just sat stunned in sadness. We left our hotel the next day and returned to Raleigh where life was about to change for everyone, dramatically.
This March Money Reset seems so insignificant to the much larger Reset happening now. The timing was of a money reset was perfect because it has set a solid foundation of how we spend and use money in our life which is not just “nice” but essential now more than ever.
Some of the March changes have stuck – for example, dining out or picking up take-out. While it is saving us money for now, eating at home for weeks upon end without any take-out has definitely increased my time in the kitchen, meal planning and grocery shopping. Interestingly though, because all of the kids activities have been cancelled, I feel like I have more time to do those things without the constant interruption and staccato-like coming and goings of everyone in our house in the evenings.
Will I continue the money “freeze?” Hmmm. That is hard to say. The financial impact of the virus in our home (like everyone) is big and real. I am grateful the reset was already in place prior to the arrival of the virus as it has taken some pressure off our bills already and I believe makes it much easier to continue moving forward in this time of uncertainty.
Our small March Money Reset has evolved into a Reset of Life. While the pain, loss and fear we are experiencing is heavy – none of us really know who or how this virus will personally impact each and every one of us, but it will (or has.)
On the underside or right on flip-side of the darkness is light, possibility for change and a reset like no other – a Reset of Life.
I remember listening to Eli Wiesel response to the idea of ‘suffering’ during an interview years ago… He said that to him, suffering was pain without meaning.
Pain without meaning…let us face the challenges of this Pandemic and not lose the meaning. So many of us have lived lives that were perhaps on auto-pilot – just doing the same thing day after day out of routine or habit. Some of us may be taking our own or our family member’s health, each other, physical touch and many other things for granted. Doing life, completing check-lists, but experiencing few to no moments of being alive…
This mandated or imposed stay-at-home order is tough. Watching exponentially increasing numbers of precious lives being infected or dying and considering the circle of families and friends this touches is painful.
For some of you, I know you have already personally lost family and friends to the virus and for the rest of us, it feels ominously inevitable. But, to alleviate long term suffering let us dig deep, do the work, listen to our hearts and souls (for many of us, being home alone or with only our immediate family will open up the space that we can actually listen to ourselves) and search for meaning. Consider a reset of how we are living, who we are being, how we are spending our time, how we are treating one another and handling the stewardship of the planet. That kind of reset has the potential to provide meaning to unbearable pain and on the other side bring light, love and connection like never before.
Until then, RockonLIVING friends. Stay healthy. Be love.