The Sound of Silence

This week’s Daily Post Challange got me thinking about the sounds all around us, some significant and not, and what it would be like if they were absent. As a ruminated, I remembered something my sister and I asked each other while we were growing up:

If you had to choose between being blind or being deaf, which would you pick?

It’s one of those questions you ask a child when you’ve never experienced living without a sense and this post is by no means a thorough examination of the each disability.

My sister and I are nearly complete opposites so, not surprisingly, our answers were different.

My sister would choose to do without hearing. I can’t remember her reasoning, but I’m sure it was well-thought out based on her passion: visual art. She spends her free time taking photos, creating charcoal drawings and paintings (to see some of her work, you can visit her website). It shapes how she mentally “sees” the world. To her, not being able to see the beauty around her and capture or recreate it in some format would be unfathomable.

I, on the other hand, would rather be blind. Sure, I appreciate nature and the beauty of God’s creation. New ZealandThere is something captivating about the wild, untouched mountains of New Zealand or the endless billows and rolls of clouds as you fly above them.

 

But nothing takes my breath away like that silent moment immediately following a triumphant chord that rings in harmony. Music surrounds me nearly constantly. Well-performed vocal and instrumental music can wrap around me, wiping any other thoughts from my never-ceasing brain and carrying me away with its ebbs and flows. Imagining a world of silence leaves me feeling alone and isolated even when I picture people surrounding me on all sides. But for some reason hearing them without seeing them is not nearly as scary.

Of course there are things to miss about either one. I imagine running without sight would be difficult. Driving would be impossible. Interacting directly with people who aren’t familiar with sign language could be a challenge. All of which are navigated gracefully by people every day who didn’t get a choice in the matter. But it’s an interesting hypothetical exercise to step back and think about how your passions shape your choice.

Think about that one for a minute. Which would you pick?

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Budgeting…Good For More Than Just Money?

Being fiscally responsible and living on a budget is an education! The first time I sat down to read a book or listen to a lesson, it was confusing. There were all these terms to learn, only some of which I was familiar with, and most I had heard of but wasn’t fully aware of their importance: interest rates, pre-tax versus post-tax, APR, compounding, etc. It requires a whole new vocabulary. Once we have those under our belts and understand how to create and use a budget, there are many things to be learned that are completely unrelated to your finances themselves; intangible lessons that are just as valuable.

For example, living on a tight budget requires self-discipline. A lot of it. Because that money sitting in your bank account? If you have a good budget that money has already been spent. It belongs to the grocer or the credit card company or the landlord. Just because you haven’t written the check yet doesn’t mean it’s free money. But when it’s sitting there in your account looking so tempting as you think “I could buy a new purse with that!” it takes a lot of willpower and discipline to remember that you CAN’T use it for that new purse or the hot pair of shoes you saw yesterday.

What about the ability to say no? We have to say no to ourselves, which can sometimes be even harder than saying no to other people. Personally, I find it more difficult to say no to others. So what happens when your entertainment budget for the month has been maxed out, but there’s still a week to go in the month and your friends are inviting you out? Exercise for your ability to say no, that’s what. Ideally anyway; we’ve all mentally rearranged expenses in our head so we didn’t have to say no. But there isn’t always wiggle room in the budget for that, so we get to practice saying no.

The great thing about these skills is that they are transferrable! We can use them at work, at home, at the gym (that requires a LOT of discipline, at least for me!).

What have you learned from living on a budget?