One of the things that we hear every now and then is the term Stop to smell the roses, I’m not sure if this term is one that is universal or if there are local versions but needless to say the meaning of the term as I understand it is you need to stop every now and then and look at the world around you. We all have such incredibly busy lives that sometimes we go for weeks before we truly realize how much time has past.
This is the time of year when a lot of students go back to school, some for the first time, some to new schools, others just off for another year of schooling. It’s a time that reminds us of the fact that summer (in the Northern Hemisphere) is slowly coming to an end and that fall will be coming. It’s a time of change and its also a time to realize just how much time has past since the summer began. Personally for me the summer has just flown by and it seems like it just started. A lot of time has past and a lot has changed in that time.
In this time of change its really time to stop and smell the roses, to take stock in what’s around me rather than just go through the motions of day to day life. You can very easily fall into a rut with our busy lives. We get up, go to work, come home, eat, relax a little, and often start the process over again. In all of that time do you stop to look at all of the things around you? Did you notice the flock of birds that skittered away as you were walking past them?
Most people, in my opinion, go through live very oblivious to what is around them. They go through the motions of living their lives and they simply don’t notice the time pass. They just keep doing the things they’re doing regardless of their impact, ignoring the changes in the world around them.
If you’ve gotten to this point you’re probably wondering what does this have to do with personal finance? Yes this is a personal finance blog and stopping and taking stock, noticing the changes around you and just seeing the beauty in the world around us is very important. You need to know what’s happening in your finances just as much as you need to know what’s going on everywhere else. If you just go through the motions doing the same things all the time you might not notice the fact that your cashflow is out of whack and you’re spending $1000 a month more than you’re making. This example is something that I’ve recently noticed in my own finances.
Without taking the time to stop and take stock you might not notice something like this. Another thing to consider from taking stock is you can reprioritize your goals and adjust them to fit your current reality rather than when you originally set them. If your goal was to make more money but you’re still doing everything the same way as before and making the same amount as before you need to figure out what changes need to be made.
Finally by stopping to look around you can see how the world is changing; the things that you saw before might be different now, you’ll have a different perspective. Another thing is that the world might have simply changed. Look at the housing market for example, mortgage rates in the US are dropping and the housing market is something that is weighing on the overall economy. If you just did your routine you might miss out on the fact that the housing market is very good if you’re in a position to make an investment.
Knowing your world around you is very important, it helps in all aspects of our lives from our environment, to our work, to our home lives. Unfortunately we are often overloaded with information. Stopping to smell the roses you’ll see what’s important, what’s right, and what impacts you. Slowing down can remove a little of that information overload to help you refocus yourself. And who knows you might actually stop to smell the roses and realize you like something new.