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It’s the most wonderful time of the year: that time when we all give thanks for what we already have, then storm the malls for 30-ish days to buy more stuff. We’re constantly asked what we want for Christmas and then the rest of the year, we try to reconcile our consumer culture with our desire to be content with what we have.
So when I’m asked for my wish list, I confess that instead of thinking of presents, I wax idealistic and think in terms of what I would want if it weren’t for that pesky reality issue. In no particular order, this is all I want for Christmas — or ever:
1. A couple do-overs
I actually don’t regret the headline “mistakes” of my life — like saying “I do” when we didn’t or changing my college major in order to graduate on time. Those things have led me to where I am today, which is exactly where I want to be.
It’s those little things I’d like to go back and fix like the time in 4th grade when the kids on the bus were teasing my little brother and I chimed in rather than stood up for him or skipping my best friend Jenny’s bridal luncheon because I didn’t want my boyfriend at the time to be bored. A mulligan wouldn’t change the course of my life, but it could have made a big difference to someone I care about.
2. Everyone to give a crap about the environment
It’s the only earth we have. I don’t get why some people are able to turn off their give-a-darn when it comes to taking care of it — like the woman who told me that recycling is “impossible” at her house because she has two teenagers. Nice excuse, but don’t teenagers typically care more about that stuff than their parents?
I’d even be satisfied if everyone just turned off the water while brushing their teeth. I see people lamenting global warming but then toting around disposable plastic water bottles. Just one small change can make a difference. You don’t have to start a worm compost bin like we have at my house, but even just carrying a steel straw can help.
3. No more homeless pets
At one point last year we had five cats in our house – our own two along with my parents’ cat Larry that visits for the winter while they travel, plus two fosters through ALIVE Rescue. I dream of also opening our home to a dog or two once we have a yard and won’t have to walk up three flights of stairs for every walk. It kills me to think of the number of pets sitting in shelters waiting for a warm home, and while I do what I can between fostering and donating, it still hurts. Please spay and neuter your pets. And the next time you want a furry friend, adopt from the shelter instead of buying from a breeder – that perfect breed you think you HAVE to have? It’s out there at a rescue somewhere, if you’re willing to be patient for the love of all pets.
4. Money to cease being taboo
I always say that if people walked around with their credit card balances displayed, everyone would feel better about their financial situation. It saddens me how many wonderful, successful people I know are secretly freaking out inside about money. They feel trapped in a lifestyle that is destroying them financially. If we were more honest with each other about our fiscal challenges, we’d all find it easier to resolve the problems and focus our energy on the things that really matter to us.
Of course I’d love to see world peace, an end to greed, and the ability to time travel, but let’s not get carried away. These four wishes are near and dear to my heart.
What would be on your ideal wish list this year? Please share in the comments – if we add our collective positivity about the future together, we can do it!
About the Author
I believe that the true meaning of financial security is the ability to make decisions without having to worry about money. There are both factual and psychological aspects of this belief and my mission is to help people find that intersection in their own lives according to their personal values and goals.
I hold the CPA/PFS license and am a CFP® professional, but I don’t sell any products or manage any money. When I’m not writing, I’m working one-on-one with people through my coaching business, Financial Bliss with Kelley Long. I’m also a member of the AICPA Consumer Advocate Council and am frequently quoted in the press on financial literacy issues facing Americans.
I love to apply my own money lessons to my writing as well as break down some of the more complicated financial planning techniques into plain English. My goal in life is for all people to feel able to make their own financial decisions with confidence, being fully aware of the pros and cons of the actions they take.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended to encourage any lifestyle changes without careful consideration and consultation with a qualified professional. This article is for reference purposes only, is generic in nature, is not intended as individual advice and is not financial or legal advice.