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Is It Time To Cash In Your Chips? (Sometimes we just gotta’)

It’s Time For a Change

It sure isn’t easy, but sometimes we just gotta’ cash in our chips. We may believe there’s so much to loose; however, in the face of reality it’s often the right thing to do.

How many times do we hold on to a hand, or stay in the game, against insurmountable odds? At times we’re fully aware of what we’re up against. But sometimes it doesn’t even occur to us we’re in very deep weeds.

Either way, reality has a funny way of finally knocking us upside the head. And it becomes time to acquiesce, and cash in our chips.

Let’s take a look at a real-life example…

A chipur reader shared her story with me a while back. Tina, in her mid-30s, is a single mother of two. She was managing to make ends meet, but it was a daily tightrope walk. And she was hanging-on to her balance pole with all she had.

Tina knew one bit of bad fortune would be devastating.

And it happened. The economy took another victim, as Tina lost her job to downsizing. Her balance pole had fallen from her hands, and she prayed there was a safety net below as she began a free fall to ground zero.

In fact, there was a safety net – unemployment benefits. But given the huge income differential, Tina and her children would break through the netting in fairly short order.

But Tina stayed in the game, her chips neatly stacked in front of her. However, winning very few hands, her stash was dwindling quickly. Still, Tina fought on; spending full-time hours looking for any respectable source of income.

Tina came to know she had another safety net – her family. Compassionately, they stepped forward and offered to take-in Tina and her children for as long as it took for their situation to stabilize.

Ah, but pride stood in the way. In spite of an objective financial assessment, and advice, from her older brother; Tina was determined to stay in the game. And she’d developed an amazing poker face, as well as a wicked ability to bluff.

But it didn’t much matter because the cards she was dealt continued to be awful. And she suddenly found her neat stack of chips easy to maintain. She was down to a very few.

A month or so passed, and Tina was somehow still in the game. Or so she thought. See, that was the problem – Tina’s thinking, as well as her judgment, had taken the last train for the coast. She simply had no clue as to the toll living in survival mode for so long had taken. Her perception of reality just wasn’t accurate.

Tina took her “reality knock upside the head” when her landlord, who’d been willing to work with her on rent, stopped-by and said he just couldn’t help her anymore.

He kindly offered Tina a payment plan to handle her arrearage, but a full month’s rent would have to be paid in just one week – or she and the kids would have to go.

It had finally sunk-in. And Tina knew it was time to cash in her chips and see if her family was still willing to help. They were, and Tina and her children made the six-hour trip east, and found themselves with a new home.

I’m thinking Tina’s situation is not at all uncommon. Oh, the details of the story may change; however, the foundation, message, and lessons are the same.

In the midst of super tough material circumstances, that seem to hold very little hope, why do we hang in there for as long as we do? Here are just a few of my thoughts, and you can add yours in a comment…

  • Anything involving change is uncomfortable for us.
  • We lose touch with the reality of our circumstances, making it virtually impossible to make sound decisions.
  • We latch-on to magical thinking, believing some sort of miracle will occur.
  • We’re simply overwhelmed and lack the ability to reason our way out of the mess.

Life is often curious and perplexing, isn’t it? It can be so wonderful, yet amazingly harsh. How many times are we faced with the decision of enduring an awful situation just a bit longer, as opposed to facing the reality of “defeat?”

Happens all the time.

And, again, sometimes we just have to head to the cashier’s window, and cash in our chips.

  • Kvervaecke

    where do you draw the line between staying positive and magical thinking? there needs to be some black and white line (wouldn’t that be wonderful?)

    • Thank you for commenting, Karen. Will comment more thoroughly, in reply, in an hour or so….

    • Great question and point, Karen. Nice hearing from you, by the way. To the extreme, an example of magical thinking would be counting on some sort of “mystery/miracle check” hitting the mailbox in the midst of tough financial times. In other words, relying upon the near impossible. Certainly, we need to hold on to hope and our dreams – even miracles. But, yes, the line has to be drawn between the probable and not so probable. So it’s really about staying positive – and realistic – at the same time. Of course, logic is a bit tough to come by in the midst of difficult times.