Throw off the shackles and fly free

Occupy wall street protest

I remember being in law school and getting my Visa statement. It was maxed out and I cried. I was worried, I was scared, I didn’t know what to do.  The balance was about $500.  Wow.  I could likely find that much change in my couches and purses now if I looked really hard. Or maybe an old savings account I have forgotten about.

Now I’m unemployed (by choice) and working madly at (Ommmmmm) not caring about money.  And for the most part I don’t.

Luckily, after working my ever-lovin’ ass off for the last twenty years, I don’t have to worry about money for a few more months.  And if I wanted to spend everything I have, I could probably make it a couple of years before I would have to go back to an office to have my soul sucked out one painful drop at a time.

I find myself living a virtually stress free existence. It is a little bit boring, but the lack of stress is a nice change.

I hadn’t thought I was overly concerned with money.  I always had enough, for the most part. I planned what to do with it;  I daydreamed about what I would do with more of it;  I made decisions based on it.

I made decisions based on it.

It seems an innocuous comment, at first.

in·noc·u·ous adjective:  not likely to bother or offend anyone;  causing no injury

vs.

in·sid·i·ous   adjective: causing harm in a way that is gradual or not easily noticed

You start out making decisions based on money as soon as you have your own money to spend.  Lik’m’stix or a Kit Kat? XBox or Playstation? Volkswagen or BMW?

But then, slowly, in a way that is gradual or not easily noticed, more and more of your decisions are based on money.  If we only go on a one week vacation, we can put more money away for retirement.  If we buy this house, then our kids can’t go to the best college.  If I gamble my whole paycheque away at the casino, my kids won’t have shoes.  If I take this job that leaves me a barely-conscious cortisol-riddled mess at the end of the day, we will have more money than we know what to do with.

I know that these kinds of decisions should not be the ones that determine our life’s path; most of us do.  But it requires a daily reminder to keep it front of mind. I wish I could say that I don’t think, about once a day, “if I just went back to private practice for 6 months or a year, I would have enough money to…” Enough money to be miserable, is the only thing that can consistently fill in that blank.

So I blink and say nothing when my kids intimate that I am somehow ripping off their dad. And I listen hard and commit it to memory, pray that it burns indelibly onto my soul, when one of them says,

“Mom, if you become a writer, or a golf pro, or a furniture builder, will you still be able to make us cookies all the time,  and be at home when when get home from school?”

Yes, sweetie, I will.

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