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The dictionary defines change as “make or become different.”

That’s really simple for such a complex idea.

How do you know when it’s time to make a change?

Lots of things that are changed are material — car, house, paint color, flooring. The more important stuff is not material — job, attitude, determination.

Do you buy a different car when the old one is paid for and still works? She has problems — several — but she still works. And not having a car payment has afforded other previously unattainable items.

But one day, she won’t work any longer. So how many months do I squeeze out no car payment? Some financial folks think you should only buy a car when you can pay cash, but if she dies first, then what?

Soon, it will be summer, the car’s best season. So do we put yet another cross-country road trip on the old odometer, or break in a new one? As we all know all too well, summer one day is followed by “uh oh, I need that new car today” season.

Do I completely flip the house I’ve been in for 10 years and have never really liked? Then I’ll love it, but do I stay or make some better money selling it improved?

Do I partially change just so I can stand it? No, because top down makes more sense than just the flooring, which I hate the worst. Even I don’t need to watch HGTV to know that if you’re going to change the paint, you should do that before you change the flooring.

But since I am not a flipper, it all has to be budgeted — every bit of it — and saving to do the whole deal at once is like saving for a car.

The friend wonders what I think about all night long after I tell him — just inform, not complain — that once again there was no sleep the previous night.

Change usually tops the list — to change or not, to wait or not, to leap or not.

The last time I bought a car and the last time I moved were nearly split-second decisions. As a single woman, I found a house, listed the old one, sold one and bought one, planned and orchestrated a move (with plenty of heavy lifting help) in less than four weeks. No one believes me, but for a long time, I kept the calendar to prove it.

I bought a car so I could give my old one to my daughter. My oddball line of thinking at the time was that she couldn’t afford a car payment and I could (sort of), and that even though she never left the city limits, she would be safer with a 4-wheel drive than I, who by then was commuting 54 miles a day minimum.

My father was fond of saying that I had a lot of book smarts but no common sense. As I know he still watches over me, he’ll be chagrined to know that that has not significantly improved with age.

However, now I think about things before doing. I still want to do it all, but at least I think about it. Have to have something to do when I don’t sleep, after all.

Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS

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Community News Editor

Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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