Earn it.

We were BEST FRIENDS with my parents. We still are REALLY close with my mom but when my dad was still around, we would go out to eat together, have supper together, we were more than just daughter/son in law, we were truly good couple friends.

When Mom and Dad were building and remodeling their house, Craig and I were just barely married and in the process of buying our house. Granted I was 19/20 years old and in hindsight I didn’t have the maturity or perspective I do now. They were putting in a new cement porch and I thought, “I want a new porch!” They were going appliance shopping. I remember thinking “I don’t want these used and leftover appliances! I want new ones too!” Everything they did sparked something in me that I needed that too. But here’s something I know now:

It wasn’t my turn. I didn’t earn it. Mom and Dad had 30 years of re-using old appliances and patching them together. They earned the right to buy new appliances. They had years of living in a house they didn’t own and having to follow the landlord’s rules. They earned the right to build and design a house the way they wanted it.

Part of being young and newlyweds is the struggle. It’s the living with a stove that the burners don’t all work. It’s painting the counter tops just to get by until you can afford new ones. It’s living on ramen noodles and scraping pennies together. It’s earning the new appliances or the fancy back porch. It’s called a “starter home” for a reason! It’s just your start. You don’t buy the mansion on a first time home owner’s loan.

If I could go back and talk to that 19 year old Kalissa who was so jealous she couldn’t see straight, I would tell her to be patient and love where you are. Love the messy and the magical months of newlywed bless. See if your marriage can survive repainting a bedroom before you remodel the kitchen. Earn the right to get what you want.

I have a theory that if you just get everything you want, you don’t appreciate when you get it because you didn’t have to work for it. Dave Ramsey always cautions people who receive some kind of miraculous inheritance or win the lottery. They don’t spend it wisely because they didn’t earn it. They didn’t spend years budgeting and scraping together money. They didn’t have to sacrifice to get out of debt. They get a “get out of jail free” card and they don’t learn the lessons they need to handle it properly.

I was 22 years old when a supervisor position came up at work. I had been there for about 3 years – I had been a nurse for about 4 years. As far as I knew, no one had applied for it and the position sat vacant. I thought to myself, “Well, why not go for it.” I’m SO SO SO glad I didn’t get that job. I hadn’t earned it. It wasn’t my turn. My dues hadn’t been paid.

When I applied for a part time flight nurse position, I left the interview broken hearted because I knew I wasn’t going to get the job. I knew I hadn’t put the work in. I knew I didn’t earn it yet. I’m going to appreciate it so much more when I can confidently say, “I earned this. I worked hard for this. I prepared for this.” Now I passed my CFRN. I am getting the critical care experience. I am cross trained to ER. I’m putting in the work and paying my dues all because I asked myself: “If you want it, what are you doing to earn it?”

I do this in business ALL THE TIME – comparing my business that has been around less than 6 months to someone else’s business that has been around 6 YEARS essentially discrediting all of the blood sweat and tears they put into their business.

I used to get so mad when people wrote me off because of my age. Now I know it wasn’t personal because there are lessons that only time can teach us. One of those lessons is “It’s not my turn. I haven’t earned it yet.”

If you want new appliances, are you saving for them?

If you want the job promotion at work, what are you doing to earn it?

If you want the new cemented patio and landscaping, are you saving for it?

If you want the rock hard abs and the muscles and the fit trim body, what are you doing to earn it?

So the next time you envy someone, the next time you compare someone else’s circumstances to yours, ask yourself: What am I doing to earn that thing? What work am I avoiding doing that would move me closer in that direction?

Anyway, those are some 3 am thoughts with Kalissa. Thanks for reading guys, I’d love to hear your take on what you earned or maybe something you expected but haven’t earned yet.

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  1. Donna
    July 18, 2021 / 2:06 pm

    Very wise words. When you earn it you take more pride in the accomplishment, You’ve done very well to be so young!

  2. Elle
    July 18, 2021 / 3:14 pm

    Truth, all truth. Unfortunately, we do each have to learn this for ourselves because when we are 19, just married, and trying to figure it all out, adults “telling us” anything is infuriating (at least it was for me).

    Congratulations on your AH-HA moments ??

    Happy Sunday to you and the fam! (How is Gannon’s pneumonia?)

  3. Hedy
    July 18, 2021 / 5:25 pm

    I always had to earn it. I didn’t have credit cards or a high paying job. I’ve been very frugal with spending. I go to Habitat for Humanity and thrift stores, I search the big box stores for sales. I did inherit money but I invested it and was very careful with it. Now I can spend it and I’m still careful. I agree with your remarks about earning it. Good advice.

  4. Nancy Angerer
    July 18, 2021 / 7:06 pm

    Wise words. My husband and I are both retired. When someone envies our free time, I tell them, “We put in our time working to get here.”

  5. Susan the Farm Quilter
    July 18, 2021 / 8:09 pm

    Your self-worth/self-esteem is lifted when you earn something and you definitely appreciate what you earned more than what is given to you. From grades in school, to your first car, to new appliances, to your job and promotions. This is why the welfare state and participation ribbons are so bad for everyone…they don’t allow people to develop their self-worth and don’t allow them to say “I earned this!” and build up how they feel about themselves. I think that is why so many of the children of very wealthy parents do outrageous things to try to make themselves feel good about themselves. Your parents gifted you with a much better life story that enabled you to earn your self-esteem through your hard work…don’t you feel so much better about yourself because you can say you earned what you have rather than it was handed to you through someone else’s hard work?

  6. Carolyn
    July 18, 2021 / 9:14 pm

    I know a lot of people who are not that wise I. Their 30, 40, or 50!

  7. July 20, 2021 / 9:36 pm

    I worked very hard and earned every penny I got. My jobs were low paying and now my social security is $580.00 a month. You can imagine how much I have to be careful with money. I have no cable T.V. or internet. I use the computer at the library or my Senior Citizen club. I boulevard shop for free stuff and I get things that way. I am 79 years old and doing fine. I am divorced and live alone to take care of a 9 room house ,1/4 acre land. I do my own lawn mowing with a push mower, I have a garden to eat from in the summer. I don’t can food anymore, just eat it up. There are more things i could add, but I don’t want to bore you Take care and you do a great job, with work and family

  8. Cinders
    July 22, 2021 / 3:37 am

    You are wise. It is not easy to be a patient and insightful person, but being patient and having wisdom you understand affordable is better than indebtness. Wise also to save up for things first as well.

  9. Kim from TN
    February 3, 2022 / 2:46 am

    When you earn it, it becomes more precious to spend. What you have learned takes many a lot longer to learn. My husband and I often look back on our life together and recall events and places we lived with a smile of happy memories. We once rented a place with bright orange walls and black linoleum tile! UGLY is the only word for it. Imagine our joy when we bought our first home (tiny and unfinished) with our own money. Now being retired we enjoy many pleasant things and we continue to be frugal when we must. So glad you are not comparing yourself, home or marriage to others. You are an individual, walk to a beat that makes you happy and your family happy.

  10. Hedy
    February 3, 2022 / 2:48 am

    When I first married, we lived in a furnished apartment above a family. We saved our money and bought furniture for our second unfurnished apartment. After 4 years we bought an old house but was OK. We started our family but lived on a budget. We had no help financially at all. We appreciated every single thing we got. Your blog today was the best you’ve ever written. It shows true maturity.

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