Monday Musings: Invest in Yourself

Invest Definition - Merriam-Webster Dictionary
“Invest” definition from Merriam-Webster Dictionary

1: to commit (money) in order to earn a financial return

I have often shied away from investing in classes. My excuse is often financial and there’s definitely truth in that, but I’ve realized there are deeper, more sinister reasons behind my refusal to lay down hard, cold plastic for all the answers in one place.

In part, unless the class is so wildly expensive that I can’t reasonably purchase it (see reason A, above), I figure why make it easy on myself? I’ve harbored suspicions that a “cheap” class means that the amount and quality of the information is less. The knowledge handed to me on a platter isn’t nearly so valuable as the knowledge I have to go digging out of the cracks and crevices of Google with my fingernails, obviously.

There’s also the fact that I’m a recovering perfectionist. I expect(ed) near-perfection from myself, and I expect products I purchase to also be quality. I’ve worried that classes won’t live up to my expectations and I’ll suffer a case of severe buyer’s remorse. But these are the easy reasons to explain.

2: to make use of for future benefits or advantages <invested her time wisely>

For years, I’ve labored under the misunderstanding that “investing in yourself” is a purely financial gesture. I’m not sure why I came to that conclusion – perhaps because the very first definition of “invest” involves monetary outlay. But I’m realizing there is so much more meaning to invest.

Invest in time to soothe your soul, invest in time to learn a skill that brings you joy, invest in filling yourself with joy. It does not have to be monetary. Simply invest in a deep breath to get yourself through the next five minutes with your children. Store up moments to pinwheel through a gray day, bank sleep for those long, sleepless nights. Take advantage of the weekend’s alone time to see you through yet another crazy week. Plant seeds for fruit in the summer and fall.

Invest. Imbue. Imbibe deeply.

3: to involve or engage especially emotionally <were deeply invested in their children’s lives>

As mothers (as parents) – hell – to be seen as productive, conforming members of society – valuing, investing in our own emotional health and well-being can be seen as a waste of time and unnecessary. I think we know, somewhere deep within ourselves, that this isn’t the truth.

This past month, I started investing in myself with some business classes, by prioritizing some of my goals, and protecting my creative time. I’ve been waking up early to write, and staying up late to work on classwork. I admit that currently I’m exhausted and I know this isn’t sustainable forever. (It only has to be until the end of October.) Two classes in addition to minimally maintaining my usual endeavors and regular household stuff is a bit much. It’s just how the chips fell. But I’m fiercely proud of myself for maintaining momentum, for learning… for digging in and working hard for my goals and dreams. Two more weeks and the winds will shift, but the lesson should not be unlearned.

(I find “invest” to be a loaded, nuanced word, and I’d love to know your thoughts about it. And if you have any projects underway where you’re investing in yourself, please share!)

12 thoughts on “Monday Musings: Invest in Yourself

  1. I think, if I know you at all, this lesson will not be unlearned. It is so incredibly awesome that you are investing in yourself. And it really is a “a loaded, nuanced word”. <3 Love this post, lady.

    1. Sarah, have I told you yet how glad I am that we’ve connected through the blogosphere? If not — I am SO GLAD. Thank you so much for your kind words and compliments. 🙂

      1. Pfft! I bet you say that to all your readers. 😉 I am so very glad, too. You’re a beautiful, talented soul. This is why, despite all my bitching about blogs and social media, I am still online. People like you.

  2. Oh how this post made me so happy to read! It is so important to invest in ourselves, to learn and grow and do the things that make us happy. And yes to protecting that creative time!

    I go through periods where I’m doing a lot and investing in me. Time-wise it might not be sustainable in the long-term, but in the short-run it definitely gives you a bit of a rush and can be so beneficial long-term. Good luck with it all, and thanks for sharing!

    1. It really does wax and wane, doesn’t it? I go through that too… I’ll do really well for quite a while and then boom, drop off a cliff. But the rush, oh yes!

      I’m so proud of YOU for pushing through on your ebook – you are definitely one of my inspirations for pushing through all the muck and balancing and investing in yourself.

  3. As mothers/parents, we always want our children to shine. I think we are supposed to shine too. Just that it takes a lot of hard work now to be able to work hard. With sincerity like yours, I know YOU ll make it!!

  4. As mothers/parents we always want our children to shine.I think we are supposed to shine too. Just that it takes a lot of hard work now to be able to work hard. With your sincerity, I know YOU will make it!!

  5. Really great thoughts on “invest.” I think it’s so great that you are “investing” in yourself through the class. I actually like the loadedness of “invest” because I think it’s loaded with mostly positive things–especially at this point in my life as a mother. I’m so inspired whenever I see anyone over the age of 26 (random, but that feels right) investing in herself or himself. So many people feel they have to stick to whatever plan they set in motion during college or right after. There are so many directions to go in life, but to change directions, we often must invest in some capacity–more education, time for sure, relationships, etc.

    I’ve invested time and some money (very little of the latter, thankfully) in starting The Twin Cities Writing Studio with a friend. It’s gone so well and I’ve enjoyed every minute of teaching and creating the classes and just trying something new. I have a few book ideas and THAT will take a huge time investment. That one feels much harder to pull off.

    Great post! Gave me a lot to think about.

    1. Nina, it is so awesome to hear your thoughts on this. Yes, I agree, it seems like preset trajectories in that 22 – 26 age range really have a lot of inertia and it’s hard to fight – especially when you start adding serious relationships and kids into the mix.

      I’m so glad to hear that the Twin Cities Writing Studio is going well – that’s so awesome – and that you’re thinking of returning to book writing!

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