Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The $20 Bill

I placed the $20 bill on my lap as I sat in my car waiting for my friend to arrive. I was taking some things out of my purse and placing them directly in my pocket for quicker access.

I completely forgot that the money was there as I opened the door and stepped outside into a gust of wind. As soon as my foot hit the ground, I realized that the bill was missing. A quick glance around my car revealed that it was long gone… already blowing through the parking lot to land where it would later be found. The event was at a college campus, and the constant buzz of activity ensured that my $20 bill would eventually be in someone else’s pocket.

Normally, my reaction would not be good. I, like most people, am on a budget and something like this would’ve naturally caused me to obsess ALL DAY about what the money could’ve done (buy gas or groceries, etc). But lately, I am trying not to sweat the small stuff.

I have been reading the book “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero  (a great read BTW) and a passage that stuck with me was about just this; that when we happen across life’s little annoyances, we should try and put a positive spin on them. The author suggests taking the situation and completing the phrase “It’s a good thing this happened because if it didn’t then…….”. Putting this positive spin on the issue almost always changes your mentality. As I felt myself starting to obsess and stress, I tried to apply this approach.

Flash back to my high school years. I was 15 years old and not yet able to work other than earning a few bucks here or there babysitting. Baggy jeans were the fashion (yes- I’m an 80’s girl!),  but at the $20 price tag buying them was not within my reach. I tried on the perfect pair- they would complete my outfit for an upcoming dance that I so badly wanted to look amazing for. Confidence is not an easy thing to find at 15, and these pants would do the trick.

I left the store defeated and bummed.

The very next day, as I am walking down the street, I spot it: a folded up bill lying on the sidewalk. As I pick it up and take a closer look I am astonished to see that it is a $20 bill. What luck!! Could this really be happening to me?? At 15, the whole world seems to work against you…so I was stunned at this good fortune. I was ecstatic and immediately returned to the store for the baggy pants and wore them proudly to the dance. In fact, every time I wore those jeans I felt special because of the circumstances that they came to be. But someone HAD to have lost that money- and in the 80’s, $20 was not small change.

There is something about finding money. It makes you feel lucky, even if it's loose change. When my father would take his grandchildren on walks, the kids would be so excited to find various coins along the way. They thought that their grandfather was their good luck charm and always looked forward to those walks. It was years before they realized that he dropped those coins as they strolled, when they weren't looking- to add a little ‘special’ to their day.

Flash forward again…I am standing in the parking lot of the event remembering how wonderfully awesome it felt to find that money. I am thinking about my father, too, and how he made his grandkids feel lucky and suddenly my positive spin comes to me. “It’s a good thing I  lost that $20 bill because if I didn't, I wouldn't have made someone’s day a little more special."

Maybe that someone needed a little luck.....

For the rest of the day I was smiling.



  1. What a great lesson. Instead of cultivating bitter resentment which is low energy for the rest of the day we can change the focus and creating loving life energy for the rest of the day impacting others lives positively! I enjoyed your lesson and memories. Thanks for sharing�� Maggie

    1. Thanks so much, Maggie. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment!!