Friday, April 24, 2009

Changes in the Air

Earlier this week the author of One Caveman's Financial Journey wrote a post about the financial benefits of losing weight. It was interesting to read, not only because of his conclusions, but also because I have been thinking about getting a little more fit myself. I'm not thinking about a huge campaign or diet or anything, but I have been feeling rather sluggish since this winter. I have a lack of stamina and my clothes aren't quite fitting the way I like, so I've decided to do something about it - I'm getting back to walking. I've been an active walker at various points in my life, but had sort of fallen out of it recently. The last few days I've been picking it up again.

Just this weekend a girlfriend and I were talking about it. She's on the same path, wanting to do a little to get back to feeling good about spring... and spring clothes. This all brings me to something I have noticed lately - it seems like people are looking at a lot of life changes lately. I've noticed it in myself, in friends I have talked to and on the blogs I read. It isn't just weight, it is all sorts of changes - going back to school, looking at changing careers, simplifying and decluttering, and of course, financial goals. It feels like New Year's Eve the way I hear people talking about setting goals and making changes. It is almost like something is in the air...

I'm not an analyst so I can only hazard a few guesses as to why this might be. Part of it might be because it is spring. There is something about spring - Mother Nature is shedding her bleak coat and appearing fresh and renewed. Is it all that surprising that we want to do the same? Maybe we are sick of being cooped up inside and are ready for some kind of change. Or maybe it is simply that change is in the air and people are catching it like a virus.

I also wonder, however, if this financial crises doesn't have something to do with it. We've seen that jobs can be lost - even ones you thought you could count on. We've seen employers doing some pretty shifty things. We've seen homes being lost and bank accounts depleted. We've seen that gadgets and cars and big homes aren't making people happy. When everyone is making (and spending) lots of money, it is easy to overlook the things we don't like in our lives. Money can smooth out all the rough edges for awhile, but once the money dries up, we are left with all these sharp corners that poke and prod. I wonder if subconsciously, or even c
onsciously, people are getting back to things that are important - spending time with family, feeling healthy and strong, having places to live and work that make them happy, following their dreams.

I wonder...

I wonder about all the people, myself included, who have said, "Okay. Okay, I will take your mind numbing job if in return you will provide me security and health insurance and money to buy the things I want to buy." Where are they now? Could they be looking around and realizing that the mind numbing job won't provide all those things, in fact, the jobs may be gone already? Maybe those people are starting to think that if they can't rely on their job or the government or anyone else for happiness, then it is time to find it ourselves. Maybe that means losing a few pounds to feel better, or getting rid of extra things around the house. Maybe it means taking some classes or looking at starting a new business. I guess what I am getting at is, maybe the silver lining of this recession is it bringing people back to basics, it is helping us refocus on what really matters.

What do you think? Are you making any changes? Setting new goals? Trying something new? And if so, why? What's motivating you right now?

Photo by: Catd_Mitchell


Lise said...

Well, back in January I dubbed this year "the year I discover who I am," so I would definitely say this would characterize me. But then, I tend to be more internally motivated than some, so this may not be inconsistent with my usual behavior.

Interestingly, the year is shaping up that way (i.e. discovering who I am), but not in the way I expected. The goals I underscored for this year are becoming less important as the year moves on, but I still feel like I'm in a peak time of learning and growing.

That One Caveman said...

I think everyone is in the mood for change right now - at a personal level and beyond. Spring has a lot to do with it, but you're right: The money problems nearly everyone is facing is opening our eyes to what could (or already has) happen.

Thanks for reading and mentioning my article.

Dawn said...

Lise, I like this: "I tend to be more internally motivated than some." I feel that way about myself.

Isn't that fascinating? I've had times like that, when I have set out with certain goals only to find that the process leads me in an entirely different direction. It sounds like this is going to be a very productive year for you!

That One Caveman - You are most welcome! Yeah, I definitely think people are looking at life a little differently. Frankly, I find it rather exciting.

Broke Diva in DC said...

I realized I couldn't control if I would lose my job or not... and I worried frantically... I realied I could only control how I feel- and making myself feel better and taking care of myself became very important to me. I work out more now + take time for myself because it makes me happier, I feel better, and my work is better- everyone wins all around! Great post!

Anonymous said...

I think you're right. I know for me, I am looking at my life with a whole new set of eyes. I didn't really recognize it before, but I totally am.

The economic crisis could have a lot to do with it. People are scared, and are losing that materialist happiness, so in turn, they are searching for something to replace that feeling. So during that search, they are analyzing their life, and making changes.

Interesting! ;)

Miss M said...

It's natural this time of year to start thinking change. Spring as the time of rebirth and such. I love just taking a walk and clearing my head, lately I've been so busy I haven't been going to gym and I'm definitely feeling like a slug. Hopefully work calms down in the next few weeks and I can get back to getting into shape.