Mar 21, 2010

Today I was trying to convince Ross to take a vacation to Denver with me. He sees all the same exciting things that I see so I think my convincing is going well. It brought up an interesting conversation though. Ross said he just doesn't "get" the travel bug that I have. I want to see the WHOLE world (minus a couple scary places). When, between seeing Denver, Seattle, Greece, etc, was I ever going to save up some money, he asked. Well I said we've traveled up to this point some and still saved. But turns out he means BIG SAVE. Like large sums to leave to your children save.

I may sound like a jerk, but I've never thought about leaving money to my kids. And now that I am thinking about...I'm not sold on the idea that I want to.

This kinda brought to light what I think is a big philosophical difference for us. I'm very independent. I take care of me and my responsibilities. Ross is more connected. He values his family heritage, he aims to impact his children even after death. He and his immediate family do more back and forth caring for each other.

Now I don't mean to imply that my family doesn't take care of me. Or that Ross isn't independent. We just have a bit of a different value set.

My parents raised me to take care of myself and not need anything from anyone, especially financially. I have the skills I need and if I want something, I can go get it for myself. I almost get offended over misc gifts sometimes. It strikes a note for me of "don't you think I can take care of myself." I don't mean to sound unappreciative. I don't give extravagant gifts and on the same token, I'm uncomfortable receiving them. I happily help my mom when I come home (especially getting set up for Christmas, I love doing that) but I like to take care of my own house. I don't want lots of help from my parents on moving or prepping our home. Darn it, I can do it on my own. I get excited about places like Boston and Sydney because I went there. I did that for myself (with of course the very generous support of my parents). I made that decision, I made the grades, I did the planning. I earned it.

Ross' family put more emphasis on doing what you can for each other in an ongoing way. Now at the peaks of their careers, his parents can be generous with things like gifts. They love to be such. They expect that we'll repay that by doing the same for our kids when we're at the peaks of our careers. They'll bring us sandwiches when we're working on the house and Ross will go over to check on their leaky roof. In turn, Ross loves to give big gifts. He's more fond of hand-me-downs, both giving and receiving. He's also really interested in his family heritage. That connection to other people, and therefore other places, excites him. (I however am nearly bored to tears by heritage. Probably due to the fact that with adoptions on both sides of my family, I have very little heritage.)

I don't think either of us is wrong. How can you say taking care of yourself is wrong? However, how can you say that having strong relationships is wrong? We both have both, we just favor one or another.

I do think its interesting that this sorta island vs village mindset though is the crux of so MANY differences we have. I'm not really sure how we're going avoid driving each other crazy over these things year after year. I'm sure every year I'll want to spend more on vacations and he'll want to spend more on Christmas gifts. And we'll go round and round about what is our savings for - us or posterity.

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