On Celebrating Wins, Arkansas, Carnegie Mellon and Budgets-to-Nowhere

This post was supposed to be yesterday, but we’d just returned from Fayetteville, Arkansas, full of good feeling, late and tired. Rather than run the piece I’d planned, let’s hit the pause button.


My daughter is going to run track for the Arkansas Razorbacks. It’s a top notch track program (four Olympians) with a wonderful coach. She’ll be in the honor’s college at the school. Three weeks ago we thought her running career might be over. Then she ran a 2:18 half mile. We called the Arkansas coach. Surprisingly, he agreed to meet with us. The entire time we sat in his office I was in shock. My daughter might be on a big-time track team. Now it’s real. She’s on her way to run in the SEC.

We found a restaurant called Hugo’s to celebrate when my son called from home (he had a major project due and couldn’t miss school for the trip). He’d received early word that he’s “probably” been accepted at Carnegie Mellon. The real process isn’t official until April 1, so we don’t know for sure, but someone we know told Nick he’s in. This person would definitely be in “the know.” At this point I’d be surprised if he wasn’t accepted.

It took lots of long workouts and study sessions for these two kids, so it’s a well deserved high five. Both of these “wins” mean more long workouts and studying  on the horizon. My daughter will have to train harder and run faster than she ever has previously. My son will be in one of the more rigorous programs in the country (assuming he accepts…which isn’t a certainty. He’s applied to NYU and has been accepted into the engineering program at the University of Texas). No matter. All of them are top notch schools with some brutal requirements.

But now the doors are open. It’s time for them to pause only briefly before they walk through. But we’re definitely in pause mode. Rest. Celebrate.


What is Money?


What is money? What’s it all about? Does it beat these moments? Does it create these moments? Is it just fuel? If it’s fuel, why the hell don’t we work hard to accumulate fuel for these big moments? Why do we waste them on irrelevant moments, like the time you’re at the supermarket and just “decide” to buy the more expensive cereal?

I think money exists for these times. I don’t care about spending a shitload of money on college for two of the people in my life that mean the most to me. Period. It’s why I saved. It’s what I sweated for. If I’m good for retirement (and I am) the one gift I can give my kids is education. I don’t want to rant on education here….this is about celebrating. I want to make sure we take a little pause.

Sometimes we work so hard to achieve so much that we just skip by these times. We cut the grocery bill and dinners out so often that when these big moments come we forget why we cut in the first place. We don’t mark them before moving on, or we make the event so “frugal” that it ruins the fun. Clearly, it’s important to save money, but these times….these captured dreams shouldn’t be trivialized. Every day is a new chance to create a new “glory day” so we shouldn’t sit in park forever….but I’m happy we celebrated. We took a ton of pictures. My kids are in a good place today, back in “move forward” gear. I think they’re in an even better place because we stopped to survey the mountain we’ve climbed so far.

Photo: twicepix

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  1. says

    A 2:18 half? Your daughter is amazing. =) And CMU is a great school, too. Though your sun might miss the sun living in Pittsburgh. Did he consider HM?

    I think you guys are totally right to celebrate these wins. It took a lot of work for them to get there, and even though it’s not over, it’s a good time to pause and see how far they’ve come.
    Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..Update To Gympact Review – Gympact AnywhereMy Profile

  2. says

    I’m so so happy for you and your family! Celebrate the hell out of this — getting into something like these highly competitive colleges is not something that should be brushed aside or negated — it’s the first big accomplishment of adulthood! Cheers!
    Kathleen recently posted..One Letter Makes All the DifferenceMy Profile

  3. says

    Wow, can you bottle up whatever you fed them and send me a case? That is a wonderful accomplishment and I’m glad you can stop to smell the roses. I know my parents were always proud of out achievements, but it really wasn’t ever their way to offer much in the way of celebration or congratulations. Have you learned the Arkansas chant? Sooey Pig! Razorbacks! Nothing like a huge crowd with the pig hats on chanting that.
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    • Average Joe says

      Arkansas fans always amazed me with their love of that Razorback. When I first moved here I really didn’t get it….but now I’m catching on. It’ll be pretty incredible to see. Can’t wait to catch a football game.

  4. says

    You already know I’m thrilled for you kids. I love the thoughts about taking a moment to celebrate. It is one of the things I try to do. We set goals or milestones in processes and I do my best to plan a celebration for when we meet those. Having the money to do so without messing with our financial goals is key (otherwise, the celebration would just bring more stress, and that’s not any kind of a celebration).
    I think so much comes down to knowing what is really important to you, and living your life so that those things can always take precedence.

    Of course, the next question is: How are you and the Mrs going to handle being empty nesters?
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  5. says

    That’s absolutely fantastic Joe, congrats to your family it definitely seems as if your children have earned it. I completely agree 100% on the money portion you spoke about. Bravo my friend, I know you probably have plenty of moments of being a proud father and I’m sure this one can be added to those.


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