“How much better is silence; the coffee cup, the table. How much better to sit by myself like the solitary sea-bird that opens its wings on the stake. Let me sit here for ever with bare things, this coffee cup, this knife, this fork, things in themselves, myself being myself.”  – Virginia Woolf

The past two weeks have brought about some significant self-reflection. The above quote is a culmination of where this well-spent time has landed in my life. Realizing that the noise that we produce in life, wanted and unwanted, is sometimes better tempered with a little more solitude in the formula. We’ve become used to the noises around us; kids, work, school, pets, spouses, family, friends, emergencies, other people’s drama, our own drama and the media, that we forget that the answers still reside within us. There’s an answer to the clattering that’s going on. I say this because the noise of economic distress is prevalent these days. We can’t escape it. It’s become part of our daily lives, entwining itself almost without us realizing it and yet largely affecting those around us. Businesses are cutting back or shutting down, families are having to find creative ways to make that paycheck stretch further, taxes and gas prices keep rising and our stress levels are quietly creeping upward.  There’s more worry than ever about current events and where our culture is headed. The answer I have come to find out is to just simply sit quietly and ruminate on what’s important. Some call this meditating, some call it introspection, but to me it’s becoming a matter of priority to just disconnect from the overwhelming people-pleasing (yes, you read that correctly) that is overtaking our biggest asset: time. We already have such limited amounts of it, that to let it so loosely be controlled by others and circumstances is not always productive.

So you are probably asking, what does this have to do with pinching pennies and stretching dollars? Well, it seems to me that each of us needs to assess where we are with our values and budgets and how they are connected. The path that we choose for debt-free living and what brings us to our own formula for making that happen is individual.  Collectively there’s no one way that’s best for all of us. What this brings to mind is how my Nan used to say “Just get on with it, gal”. That helped me choose better solutions over the years. Right now more than ever, it means dropping the external and internal noise and moving forward with what each of us is here to do: take care of ourselves. This does include family, don’t get me wrong. But we can’t move forward in any of our self care as well as for those we love, if we don’t find that quiet place even if for a few moments each day, to collect ourselves and appreciate what has been given to us: our connection to silence and what it offers us. It is a frontier that we ignore. And yet it is one that serves us. Silence is a gift. Its only expectation is that we use it with reckless abandon.

So, here I sit with all this newly acquired awareness and also the consequences of not adhering to it that has brought me thus far in life. This is a good thing. My Nan’s words are ringing in my ears again, “Get on with it, gal”. It is with this knowledge that I press on with unfinished chapters in my life. Yes, this includes continuing to strive to live debt free and to etch out a comfortable future. But what the biggest gain will be is the accomplishments that are still possible. Who knew this gift of silence, the one that sits quietly waiting to be seen and acknowledged, is so wonderfully liberating? And better yet, it doesn’t cost a thing and it never runs out. You gotta love that!