My Aunt is one of the many inspirations behind my push to live frugally and I wrote about her (and my Uncle Ike) in an earlier post: Happy Birthday, Aunt Norma! Frugal Party Favors from My Aunt's Purse.
They are both important to me for several reasons, personally and professionally. On a professional level, my aunt and uncle provided a home for me in Wilkinsburg, Pa., (just outside of Pittsburgh), when I first worked at WTAE-TV (an ABC affiliate) in 1981. They didn't charge rent; they helped me to open a checking account at Mellon Bank and they helped me to make the transition from college girl to working woman. Gratitude does not begin to cover my feelings toward my Aunt Norma and Uncle Ike.
Apart from my parents and perhaps a few other unnamed individuals and relatives, I don't know of anyone else who gave me more or loved me so unconditionally. Naturally, both my aunt and uncle are featured in my upcoming book, the Frugal Duchess: which is a financial memoir.
But I'm not writing today to pimp my book or promote my career. This is just gratitude and a few notes about what I have learned and realized over the last few days.
- Emotional account deposits: Don't delay deposits into emotional accounts that you share with friends, relatives and other loved ones. Stay current on all of your I-Love-You's. Quickly adjust any deficits. Don't wait.
- Age & Death: When someone passes away, try to avoid saying: "At least they had a long life." I used to say that and now I realize how hollow it sounds. Life is never long enough. My aunt lived for 88 years and I wished that she could have lived -- in good health -- for another 88 years. She lived for a long time and it still didn't seen long enough.
- Listen more, talk less: If life were a DVD or a tape, I would hit the rewind button and try to re-record different chapters of my life. Mostly, I would just talk less and listen more. I would try to really understand the people that I have been blessed to love and to know. What's more, listening is such an act of love.
- Save more: My do-overs would also include saving more money. I would save more not to have more money or to buy more stuff. No! I would save more in order to have more money to visit, call and to send gifts to those that I love, including my parents, siblings and other relatives, including my Aunt Norma.
- Less navel-gazing: My resolutions include a promise to be more frugal with my use of time. I wish I could redeem some of my anxiety-filled, wheel-spinning moments for one more phone call with Aunt Norma.
- No regrets: Of course, I would love to turn back time and re-do some of my mistakes and missteps, especially those lapses in judgment from the 1981-1987, when I first started my career. But when I'm tempted to get lost in that tailspin of doubt and depression, I hear Aunt Norma laughing: "Well, Sugah," she says, using one of her pet names for me. "We all make mistakes. That's life. Now get over yourself and get on with the day."