2018 Resolution: Finding the $10 Bill Again

Posted In: Other Good Stuff
Posted On: 1/3/2018

I remember the moment as if it happened yesterday. There it was all crinkled up at the bottom of the dryer in my apartment complex’s laundry room. As I straightened it out in my hand, it was, in fact, a real $10 bill! I couldn’t believe my eyes as I looked around to see if anyone saw me with the loot. Then, I immediately wondered who had been so careless to leave that much money behind! Had they missed it? Would they come back to look for it? And then it hit me—it was mine now!!! There was no way someone else could claim it because there were no identifying marks! No one’s name was on it!

In that moment, I experienced a range of emotions from surprise to conflict (it wasn’t mine) to elation (yes, it was!). And ultimately the feeling that I had to be the luckiest person ever to have $10 that was all mine, and I could spend it however I wanted! In fact, I felt like anything was possible if I could find this $10 bill.

As you read this, you may be thinking that I am exaggerating to make a point. You may be wondering how it could be possible that a $10 bill could have that kind of impact on me.  This is no exaggeration.

Let’s go back a few years to put it in context.

Me Then. I was 22 years old, recently graduated from college in Illinois, followed by a marriage the day after graduation and transplanted to Dallas for my new husband to attend Southern Methodist University in pursuit of his MBA. Once he graduated, I had dreams to go to law school but until then I worked at a little bank as a receptionist during week days and as a sales clerk at the local mall at nights and on Saturdays.  To say we were on a tight budget was an understatement.  The best mental picture I can give you of our monetary situation is this:  imagine a couple walking down the aisles of the local Tom Thumb supermarket, one person (me) reading off the prices of each item that was going into our cart while the other person tallied the price on his calculator.  Once we got to the pre-determined budget, we either stopped adding to the cart or we made some draconian food trade-off. Every cent was accounted for in my little world.

Since I grew up poor, the concept of being on a budget was not new to me.  That was a way of life.  But somehow, I had imagined when I started working that I would have more financial freedom.  Not so with our rent and expenses and his tuition racked up against my two minimum wage jobs.  As I look back, I had slumped into a bit of a depression not being able to imagine how my life was ever going to change from the calculator shopping trips.

And then the $10 bill magically showed up.

Me Now.  Today, I don’t think too much about $10 here and there.  But I do think a lot about how I can recapture that simple feeling of surprise leading to elation. I do think about how I have created circumstances in my life that are today’s equivalent of walking down the supermarket aisle with that calculator. Claustrophobic. Depressing.

Yet, as I perpetuate some of these negative situations in my life today, I am happy to report that in 2017, I rediscovered for the first time in a long time that feeling of finding the $10 bill. 

Instead of a crumpled bill showing up in my dryer, an emaciated horse showed up at my barn at the end of 2016.  I bought him from a kill pen in Texas and had him transported to my home in Colorado.  After months of special food and love, Prince gained 450 pounds and is now the most beautiful white horse.  Imagine the horse Cinderella would ride and there you have Prince. The Magical Mr. Prince.

From the surprise of how sick he was to the elation of how beautiful he is.  I found the $10 bill again. 

My hope for you in 2018 is that you find your $10 bill and create your own feeling of surprise followed by elation.

Post script:  Unlike the one-time experience of finding the $10 bill when I was 22, since adopting Prince, I have added Milo, Lucky and Jack to the crew of rescued animals.  Each new guy has provided that same feeling!  Elation is addictive!