If you wandered in here hoping for an extreme frugality post, you are going to be very disappointed. Trust me, you should cut your losses and leave this page now.
For those of you who stayed – here is your reward. A picture of my well worn, much loved socks.
These are my Sad Socks and I wear them to Remember.
Years ago, before the birth of Toddler BITA, I had a miscarriage. I was nearly 12 weeks pregnant. I had to have a D&C procedure under general anaesthesia. Later, in the recovery room, the nurse noticed that my feet were cold and she put the Sad Socks on my feet to warm me up.
I spent a few days after the procedure curled up on the couch, pondering my loss and working through my grief. The Sad Socks stayed on my feet and witnessed me weep and rage and stare blankly at the ceiling. They witnessed my sadness, and my regret (Why had I waited so late to have a baby? Why had I waited until the biological odds were stacked against me? This was all my fault). They bore witness to my complete inability to Be Strong and Get Over It and Move On. They heard me say things that I said out loud when there was no one else around to listen, things that I am ashamed of thinking, thoughts that arose from the grey depths of my grieving soul (very uncharitable thoughts about pregnant friends and women who toodled around with their children in tow, clearly undeserving of their great good fortune. I was clearly more deserving than they). The Sad Socks witnessed my pain when it was most raw and I inconsolable.
And the Earth kept on turning. And time passed.
For a long while the Sad Socks were relegated to the back of my sock drawer. Looking at them made me, well, sad. They were a reminder of Dark Times, and so deserved to be sentenced to live out their days in the dark dungeons of the drawer.
And the Earth continued its journey around the sun. And more time passed.
And everything that hurt still hurt, but in a more manageable sort of way. The pain became a small part of me instead of being the only part of me. I surprised myself by laughing often. I could once again look upon other pregnant women and mothers and be happy that they were happy. I healed, and I regained my ability to be grateful to be alive.
Cut to Now.
These days I am happy, and contented with my life. And I wear my Sad Socks often. So often that they have holes in them.
I wear my Sad Socks to remind me that Life does get better.
I wear my Sad Socks to remind me that sadness is ok.
I wear my Sad Socks to remind me that some clichés are clichés for a reason (Time is a Great Healer, What Doesn’t Kill You Only Makes You Stronger……).
I wear my Sad Socks to give me strength. When Life sucks, as is tends to sometimes do, I look at my Sad Socks and I think, with confidence, This Too Shall Pass.
I wear my Sad Socks to remind me to count my blessings, for they are myriad, and more than I deserve.
My Sad Socks are my superpower (and way sexier, holes and all, than underwear worn on top of pants). When I have them on, all I have to do is look down and remember, and voilá I am a stronger and better version of myself than I was just a moment ago.
- Toddler BITA throwing the world’s biggest fit about the fact that her rubberband got wet in the bath? One glance at Sad Socks reminds me how lucky I am to be a mother (and any desire to laugh hysterically at her misery or screech at her like a banshee are easily suppressed).
- On a late night conference call with a slow gnat trying to impersonate an engineer when I would much rather be cuddled up and warm in bed? I look at Sad Socks, take a deep breath, and I am able to not say all the things that would be so deeply satisfying to say but would constitute a severely Career Limiting Move. Sad Socks whisper to me about the things that Matter. Gnat does not.
- Too much salt snuck into dinner? Sad Socks make that a laughable mistake.
- Dog vomited on the carpet? Sad Socks remind me what true misery is all about (and it ain’t about scrubbing dog puke out of the carpet, I’ll tell you that).
What, if anything, you ask, patience wearing very, very thin, does this have to do with personal finance or FIRE, Mrs. BITA? And if I respond, “Oh! Nothing at all, dear”, I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to bop me over the head rather hard with a bat. Or a fish. Or a slipper.
Luckily for my rather sensitive head, Sad Socks do help me on this meandering journey to financial independence and early retirement. They help me remember what is truly important in my life, and no, it isn’t my Net Worth. They help me remember that the sacrifices I need to make along the way are well worth it. They help me remember why I strive for financial independence.
My Sad Socks keep my toes toasty and remind me that this journey to financial independence is all about Hope. Hope that we can have a tomorrow even better than our best today. Hope for a tomorrow much better than we can imagine when we have just been punched in the solar plexus by Life, and it is all we can do to gasp like a dying fish. My Sad Socks remind me what Emily Dickinson said about hope, and what a very powerful force it is.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all