‘Member dis? We used to play M.A.S.H. (mansion, apartment, shack, house) back in the day. The limo was obligatory up until somebody realized that rich and famous people don’t actually own stretch limos. I also kinda remember playing this by myself and putting my 4th grade crush in the husband column then finagling the results to make sure he was chosen. I decided to take a trip down memory lane two nights ago. I thought it would be fun. It wasn’t. It was actually stressful and depressing. I could only come up with two fantasy husbands, the housing situation was a bust too. I finally just started putting whatever, but this little exercise got me thinking about my current mental state. Am I really that jaded with life, that I can’t even dream about the unrealistic future or have I…dare I say it…lost the magic and grown up? I feel like the adults in the Polar Express that couldn’t hear the bell ring because they had stopped believing in Santa Claus. As I’m writing this I’ve figured out exactly who’s to blame!!! My financial advisor!!.. well he’s not “mine” per say but it sounds good and really grown up when you place ownership on a financial advisor. I went to go see this guy more as a return on a previous favor, than because I needed advice about finances that I don’t actually have. That meeting was like a 2 hour long game of M.A.S.H. seriously, only we didn’t stop at houses, husbands, and cars, Mr Northwest Mutual added a few other columns like, Debt, Retirement homes, Insurance, Current Expenses and a whole host of other headers that bit by bit chipped away at the gold leaf I’d thinly layered over my very real, very impoverished state. This real life M.A.S.H was more like SQUASH. As sobering as it was to go through the intimate details of my life and future plans (or lack there of), it was an experience I cherish and have recommended to all of my friends. I realized that reacting to life instead of directing your life is not a good pattern to fall into. My advisor was amazed at the simplicity of my needs, while it was something to laugh about it made me realize that I’d stopped dreaming big. That is the toll that parenthood has taken on me. I didn’t have a dream car, dream salary, dream house, or dream future beyond wanting to pay for my son’s college tuition and be able to take care of my mom. It was pathetic really, but I’m saying this in the past tense for a reason. That meeting opened up my eyes and I started to focus on the happiness factor and creating the quality of life that I’d really enjoy, to consider the possibilities and not the liabilities of life.