My husband and I recently began Dave Ramsey’s course: Financial Peace University. One of the concepts that Dave uses is that of the interplay between the Nerd and the Free Spirit, especially within budgeting. When it comes to budgeting, I am clearly the “Free Spirit.” I want to play, I want to explore, and I definitely do not want to sit down and crunch a spreadsheet of numbers. It is one of the tortures that has absolutely no appeal to me. Don’t worry, in Dave’s plan, I do contribute, it is not like I am the flighty woman who gets pocket spending money from her big strong domineering husband (if you know my husband, you’ll know that “Domineering” is hardly a good descriptor of his likeness). But I don’t have to crunch the numbers. I get to tweak them. My role as the free spirit is to play with the numbers, and to have an occasional reality check with some of the categories.
With all this play and spiritedness, you’d think that flightyness was required for the role. Not so much. I can be down to earth and quite concrete. Just not when I’m looking at a page of numbers.
Ask me to plan a trip, a vacation, a journey of some sort, and I will have a carefully laid out description of where we are going, what we can do when we get there, and what we are eating along the way.
The joy of a plan in the way that I create them is that it serves as a guideline for the journey. I am not chained to my plan, it is open to interpretation, new things can be inserted at whim, and if our energy is growing short, we can always cut something out that we wouldn’t enjoy with tired feet and aching backs.
The plan serves as a guideline, rather than a rule. It’s really like Pirates of the Caribbean: Guidelines more than actual rules. See, the plan allows for a direction and a purpose. It casts a vision for the journey. It allows us to come to a place and not have to spend an hour trying to figure out what comes next.
Sometimes the plan is fully concrete in my head, and I have failed to share it with my husband. When I say that I am going to the beach, I know exactly what I mean. In my head. If I haven’t said it out loud, then it is entirely possible that my husband will not even know that we are going to the beach. It won’t be his fault, it will be because I have not shared the plan with him.
In the same way that he shares the budget that he has worked on with me, I am learning to share the plans in my head with him. I am able to be free spirited around our plans because I know the basic structure. As I learn to share the plan, I am able to extend a space for interpretation and improvisation.