“May the road rise to meet you…” and other pearls of wisdom inspired by St. Patrick’s Day.
Green beer, corned beef, and the traditional Irish blessing that starts “May the road rise to meet you…” receive varying degrees of attention and contemplation—depending on your proclivities—around St. Patrick’s Day. Regardless of your opinions on beer and Irish food, I think that we all can agree that the Irish have an admirable turn of phrase. My favorite Irish blessing is:
May you always have…
Walls for the winds
A roof for the rain
Tea beside the fire
Laughter to cheer you
Those you love near you
And all your heart might desire.
It’s a favorite because it reminds me to keep my “problems” in perspective and to make my choices in the context of what matters most. It reminds me to live simply and travel lightly through life.
I’m not suggesting that you need to go all minimal (although if you’re interested in this idea, you can learn more here). Rather, this reminder can shape your personal life in subtle but meaningful ways: Carry firm convictions but a gentle voice. Remember the best gift you can share with your family is time and with your younger family, wisdom too (but in small doses so they won’t start ignoring your calls and texts). The most valuable asset you have is your mind followed closely by your health so make time to nurture both of them.
This mindset—living simply and traveling lightly through life—can also shape your financial life. It can start with something small like automating your finances. You’ll never pay another late fee and you’ll save more than you ever dreamed possible if your bill pay and savings happen automatically.
A larger step toward traveling lightly could be to do a sanity check on the “stuff” in your life and my definition of stuff is both material and conceptual. For example, how many cable channels do you have and how much are you paying for them? How much are you watching them vs. Netflix or another on-demand service and could you reduce some or both of them? How about a massive closet/kitchen/garage purge and donating those items to your favorite charity? Keep only those things that are important, useful, and beautiful. Also, remember it’s a waste of time to whittle your possessions if you’re going to buy more. The trick is to be content with life more than stuff. Put another way, if you don’t use shopping to fulfill your needs, you’ll only really buy what you need.
My favorite Irish blessing reminds me that in the end, my personal and financial choices should help me live simply and travel lightly toward what matters most: the quality of our relationships and the joy they bring us.
And, in the event that those relationships aren’t quite what I’d like them to be, I can always fall back on my second favorite Irish blessing:
May those who love us, love us;
And for those who don’t love us,
May God turn their hearts;
And if He doesn’t turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles,
So we will know them by their limping!