You owe it to yourself

This blog — which I’m thinking of as the FHB — is a week old.

In going back over the pieces, I see that an interesting phrase has come up more than a few times. The phrase is:

you owe it to yourself

Have you ever decided to follow up on something that you owe it to yourself to do?
It can do you a world of good.

* * *

Let me be self-referential for a moment (aside: the FHB will strive to not be self-referential, one of the primary downfalls of many a blog).

I recently checked off an I owe it to myself item. It felt great.

I have never known much at all about the history of the Middle East. I didn’t know my Gazas from my Golans, I didn’t know the terrorists from the politicians, and I didn’t know whether you had to fly east or west to get from Iraq to Afghanistan.

And I wondered how much the whole thing had to do with things that happened thousands and thousands of years ago.

So last week, after the election and what with Arafat’s death being imminent and the knowledge that we were going to just stay the course in that mess of a war we started in Iraq, I decided that I owed it to myself to be at least a little bit smarter about all that.

So I rented a video called The Fifty Years War, which covers the Israeli/Palestinian situation from 1948 through 1998.

The video guy asked me why I was renting it. Because now, more than ever, that’s where the action is going to be, was my response.

And now, having watched the video (with some grains of salt) I know a lot more — I know that Gaza is land that Israel and Egypt have fought over, that the Golan Heights is land that Israel and Syria have fought over, I know that the difference between terrorists and politicians is often merely linguistic and seldom clear-cut, and that throughout history many politicians have been terrorists and many terrorists have been politicians, sometimes simultaneously and sometimes in succession, and I know that you have to fly east to get from Iraq to Afghanistan.

And, yup, I know that it all dates back to the time of Kings David and Solomon and the Philistines and the Assyrians, and to even before them — back to all those Old Testament players. Crazy cats all.

And now I know a lot more about why getting all those folks to just all get along is key to the peace of the entire globe. Key to peace for The Whole Shebang.

* * *

So what does that have to do with financial health?

Well, I reckon that at least a third of the people out there haven’t the foggiest idea about how they’re doing. They go about their days doing their money-in and their money-out, perhaps generating some savings here and there, maybe a little and maybe a lot, or perhaps generating deficits instead, maybe a little or maybe a lot, but all the while never really knowing up from down or in from out when it camed to the state of their financial health.

Those folks owe it to themselves to get smarter about all that.

Because, like it or not, our economic selves have a whole lot to do with our overall selves, right? So that being financially healthy usually plays a large role in our overall happinesses, doesn’t it?

In fact, it’s probably in the Top Five, don’t’ch’ya think?

In no particular order (or maybe in a very particular order?), there’s (1) having wonderful people in your life. There’s (2) having a body that is dependable and resilient and that does not constrain you. There’s (3) having hope for a better and better future for you and for all those you care about (which hopefully is every single living thing on the face of the Earth, as well as the Earth itself). There’s (4) many other things.

And in there somewhere is, as well, your financial health, which is a necessary but not sufficient component of your overall happiness.

Now how much financial wherewithal does it take to have financial health? That is very much an individual choice, and very much a matter of deciding what’s important, because bringing dollars into our lives often involves bringing other things into our lives that are not good for our overall happiness and jettisoning others that are.

But, surely, all of us have a point of financial health — a financial sweet spot that is something more than nothing and something less than everything — and, regardless of what that is, if you ain’t got it, then you and your overall happiness have a difficult road ahead of you.

So if you count yourself as being among those who do not know much about your financial health, then, please, you owe it to yourself to know. You owe it to yourself to know a decent amount about this all-important aspect of your life, to take the blinders off and see what there is to see.

You very well might be more financially healthy than you realize. But if you stay in the dark, you’ll never know and, if you never know, you can’t fix what’s broken and you can’t rest your laurels on what’s not, can you?

So, in this context, what you don’t know can most assuredly hurt you. And hurt you bad.

It can be done — I have seen it done many many times — without all that much effort. All you have to do is want to do it (often the hardest part) and then do it.

It’ll feel great. You’ll feel like you have some control that you didn’t have before. And that is something that makes just about everyone feel happier.


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