When I was about 6 years old, there was a game I used to play. I would make a wish (often to live in a castle), blow on a dandelion with my eyes closed, and hope that when I opened my eyes, the castle would magically appear. It never did.

When I was in high school, I had a dream. I was going to go to UC San Diego for 4 years, get a B.A. in Sociology, and then go on to grad school. I would get a degree in social work, and get a great job, where I helped other people.

While in grad school, I would meet my awesome husband, who would have a great job, so we could afford a nice house. He would also love to cook, since I didn’t like it so much. We’d settle down and have a few children by the time I was 30. They’d go to daycare, and I’d be a career woman.

Oh, how things didn’t turn out the way I’d imagined.

I went to UCSD and got a B.A. in Sociology. And that’s where my dream turned into reality. I overslept the morning of the test I was supposed to take to get into grad school, so I didn’t have everything I needed to apply. Instead of going to grad school, I moved to Oregon.

I met my husband, who is awesome, but he is not a great cook. He knows this, so it’s OK for me to post it. He’s talented in many areas, but cooking is not one of them.

It took us longer than we expected to have children, and when our first was born, I quit my job as a teaching assistant at the Special Ed Preschool to be a stay at home mom. Our second was born when I was 31, and there were no more children.

Instead of being well of and able to afford anything we wanted, we have struggled financially. Most of that is due to our own choices. Some bad choices with credit cards, and some good choices with our careers. Good, in that even though we haven’t chosen the highest paying careers, our careers are very rewarding in other ways.

Would I change my life? No way! I’ve found that by wanting things, I have something to strive for. So what if I can’t afford a brand new wardrobe, every time I want a change? It makes me appreciate every new piece of clothing I get a little more. It makes me a little more aware that I need to take good care of what I have, because I can’t easily replace it. It makes me more frugal, because I need to cut my spending in some areas to afford what I want in others. It makes me a more responsible person.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being well-off financially. Being financially comfortable is a good goal to strive for. However, it’s good to have to work hard for a few things in life. It helps us create goals and good stewardship.

How about you? If a fairy told you that you could have everything you want in life, would you accept? (And I don’t believe in fairies, but I do love fairy tales!)

Photo by lil_miss_whit.