Confession: I love polka dots. Like really, really love polka dots. So it should come as no surprise that when I was in a store several months ago and saw this blanket, I bought it:
Like Linus, I take this blanket with me everywhere (and for those of you attending FinCon, it’ll most likely be with me). It’s with me when I’m sitting on our couch or in my favorite chair and, most importantly, it’s my nap blanket. And like a 3 year old, I nap almost every day. Napping is an unfortunate side effect of not being able to sleep at night but I get by. Anyway, when I nap, I lie on top of my comforter and use my fuzzy polka dot blanket instead. In fact, I use the blanket so much that something weird has happened.
That blanket has become a trigger to my body and brain to think it’s time to sleep.
Once I realized this, I started bringing the blanket to bed with me at night and guess what? I can fall asleep within a matter of minutes instead of hours. It’s pretty nice to be able to fall asleep without staring at the wall until I get bored or I’m tired of writing blog posts or book chapters in my head or cursing my family for being able to fall asleep with no issues at all. I’ve deemed this “The Fuzzy Blanket Phenomenon”.
If you think about it, the blanket can act as a metaphor for financial security. How many of us have lain awake at night, wondering how we’re going to pay the bills or buy groceries or a winter coat or put gas in the car? How many of us have spent countless nights trying to figure out how we can pull in any extra income because our kids need something important? How many of us have a contingency plan just in case something really bad happens and we’re on the verge of losing our house?
I know I’ve been there. And it’s really unsettling.
But then all of a sudden, we find something—anything—that starts to give us peace of mind. It might be a small, unexpected raise or a paid off debt or even a part-time job. It might be moving to a less expensive home or getting permission to work from home a few days a month. It might come in the form of finding a less expensive grocery store or taking the time to coupon effectively. It doesn’t really matter what form your fuzzy blanket takes; it’s just the simple fact that you found one.
Financially, my fuzzy blanket took two forms: paying off my biggest credit card and both my husband and I getting raises at work. Once those two events happened, our financial stress lessened. Payday was no longer a source of panic and the week in-between paydays was no longer a source of immense pressure. We could finally walk into a store and buy what we needed instead of having to compromise on what we needed the most and what we could do without. We didn’t have to pay extra fees on our bills just to make sure they were credited on time. We could actually buy clothes and shoes for ourselves! Those two events gave us a warm, comforting feeling. Much like what happens when I use my polka dot blanket to take a nap.
Possession of a fuzzy blanket changes your entire outlook. It means security, relaxation and relief, if even for a few hours. For me, my financial and actual fuzzy blankets give me the ability to calm down, turn off my brain from worrying and working at hyperspeed. Being able to rest, breathe and turn off means that I can function like a normal person the next day (and believe me, when I’m not well rested, I’m a mess. And angry. And kind of rude). Having that fuzzy blanket means I’m a better parent, friend, spouse, blogger, writer…everything.
It’s the best $20 I have ever spent.
Readers, what’s your fuzzy blanket (literal or metaphorical)? How has it changed your life?