*chapters do not have to be read in order. Just dive in*
When I started cutting back on spending, I developed one odd form of rebellion. I wouldn’t spend as much on clothes, I would cut back on eating out, I stopped taking cabs… And I started buying scratchers (those fun little lottery scratch and “win” things you see at every corner convenience store).
There was a ritual to it.
I’d walk down to the end of my street, and buy two: one had to be bingo themed, and the other one I’d switch up. I’d go for the middle-of-the-line ones, in the 3 −5 dollar range, because I thought there’d be no way the 1 dollar ones ever win.
Then, with my scratchers safely tucked in my coat pocket, I’d buy myself a coffee (another sweet luxury), and walk down to the beach. Now this is not the beach you’re imagining, it’s a Toronto beach, and it’s not summer. I’d sit on a bench, all bundled up and look out at the water, sipping my coffee.
And for the next ten minutes, I’d just dream of what I would do with that 50,000 dollars.
That’s what I paid 3 dollars for. The privilege of sitting there and mentally spending that money. I knew objectively that I wouldn’t win, and if I did it would just be 3 − 5 dollars… not exactly a life changing amount.
But for those few minutes on the beach it was a possibility.
It was always 50,000 dollars, because to me, that was my ideal amount of money. To lots of us, it seems like an immense amount… but in actual purchasing power, it’s not all that much. But it was enough to pay off my debt, build up a little savings. Most importantly it was NOT enough to change anything.
I know… most people dream of hitting it rich. Getting that million dollar payout (which doesn’t go as far as you’d think either).
But I was afraid of that kind of money.
Yes I was struggling. Yes, more money would have made things easier. But I felt that my struggles were a part of who I was. I felt that they helped me relate to my friends, who were also struggling. I didn’t want to change this “essential” part of myself, lest I lose something in that change.
So I wanted “just enough” change. Decrease the stress, but keep the situation.
What an “artist” way of thinking. An aversion to stability.
I’m still not sure if it was my love of the bohemian dream, or if it was just my fear of letting go of my demons. The devil you know ends up being a comfort in some ways. Sure, you don’t sleep, but every night you curl up in bed with the same fears. You know their names, you know their faces… it is comfortable… in an uncomfortable super stressful sort of way.
It’s crazy to me how often I can objectively recognize something as a problem in my life, but choose not to act to change it.
And so it stays the same.
It’s been something that’s been on my mind a lot this January. Embracing change has always been difficult for me, even when I know it’s a change that I really want.
But adult truth number 1: You are responsible for your life. If you don’t like something. Change it.
That includes: my career, my financial situation, my health, my relationships, and my woeful squash game (seriously…I’m just not getting better).
And maybe that starts with upping that 50,000 dollar dream (although 50,000 dollars would still be super awesome) …. Maybe see what I could dream with 75K.