Daughter is home from college on break. Her time away from home has given her a new perspective on family dynamics, which she has shared with us.

She has noticed that I worry waaaaaaay too much about money. Guilty as charged. I grew up in a family that had very little money (we were officially in poverty), so I come by my worry honestly. When it came to finances, no one ever indicated to me that I shouldn’t worry, that things would be okay. By contrast, Erik’s family passed along this message a lot, starting with his Grandma Lillian, who wouldn’t take out an insurance policy because she always had faith that somehow she’d be taken care of if things got bad. This is a lady who got married during The Great Depression. That’s optimism.

It’s an attitude I’d like to cultivate, but I’m so used to feeling like we’re one step from financial disaster that it’s hard to let go of the worry. Even though we’ve always managed to figure things out. Even though we both have good credit ratings. Even though we’ve never really had a major financial disaster. Recognition of one’s failings isn’t necessarily enough to reverse those failings. Anyone got suggestions on how I can worry less about money?

Daughter has also noticed that Hubby and I complain a lot, mostly about the state of the world (politics) and the things we’d like to see changed in our community. While we are fairly involved in our community and we follow certain political issues closely, we aren’t typically in a position to change things, so this complaining, while somewhat cathartic, is pretty useless and has led to a creeping negativity that affects Daughter. She feels more negative when she has to listen to our crabbiness. No surprise there, although I generally think of us a positive people. Apparently we aren’t emphasizing the positive around Daughter.

This is a case where I think recognition of the problem will help me to combat it. I’d much rather focus on the good in life, try to positively influence the negative stuff I can change, and let go of the crappy stuff I can do nothing about.

With the current political and economic climate in the U.S., have you noticed a creeping negativity infiltrating your life? If so, what have you done to mitigate it?