Do or Do Not.

Money (that’s what I want)

with 15 comments

I’ve always been something of an idealist at heart, but I’ve usually been much more of a pragmatist in my head. As much as I want to simply follow my dreams, as much as I long wanted to pursue a career as a writer or artist, I always would up putting those desires beneath the desire to, y’know, not be broke all of the time.

That’s the major reason why I pursued my day-job career as a programmer. Yeah, sure, I enjoy it–I’ve been playing with computers ever since my dad bought me my first computer, a TI-99, when I was little–but it’s not the career I had planned on. I stumbled into it by accident and realized that I could make a pretty good living at it for awhile. And I do; I make a higher salary right now than I’d have thought possible at this point in my life. (Not that I make that much; I think it says more for how low my expectations were than for how large my paycheck is, honestly.)

I’m coming to realize, though, that it’s just not enough.

(I’m also coming to realize that I self-identify far too much based on the work I do or the work I want to do, but that’s for a later post.)

I don’t want money to have such an elevated place of importance in my life, I truly don’t. If you asked me, “Which is more important: money or happiness? Money or love?” then my answer would always be “happiness” or “love.” “Money” wouldn’t seem to take precedence over many, if any, “quality of life” factors.

Except: I’m nearly constantly reminded, especially lately, of the painfully obvious fact that the having or not-having of money so directly affects those “quality of life” factors.

Travel? Nope, can’t do it. New clothes for the kids, or a new bed for Kelsey? Nope, can’t do it. New glasses for me to replace these that I’ve had for five years? Nope, can’t do it.

I realize that for those of us who aren’t independently wealthy, this situation’s just Part of Life. The making, managing and spending of money consumes a pretty fair chunk of our lives as Good Capitalist Americans. I accept that and know that that segment of my adult responsibilities isn’t going to change anytime soon.

But does it have to be as goddamn hard as it is right now?

I’m naturally a pretty happy, laid-back person by nature. But for the last few months, I’ve been irritable and snappish, which I don’t like being–especially at my beautiful little kids and adoring wife. But my patience and temper have gotten shorter and shorter, and I know that it’s directly attributable to the stress I’m feeling over our finances. I also know that the finacial-related stress is magnified because of the fact that I’m the lone breadwinner for my family right now, a situation I’m loathe to change.

New England’s just so friggin’ expensive–we live in Rhode Island, one of the less expensive parts of the region, and it’s still friggin’ expensive. Maybe this is one of the reasons people in the South seem to be stereotypically happier than people in the Northeast…their homes are actually reasonably priced.

And they don’t have, y’know, six months of winter every year.

Written by Allen

August 1st, 2005 at 5:30 pm

Posted in General

15 Responses to 'Money (that’s what I want)'

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  1. Ya know, you’re really not making me extited about moving up there.

    Jay

    1 Aug 05 at 6:22 pm

  2. Good, Jay, because you guys shouldn’t move up there–although I certainly hope it works out for you guys. And Allen, you’re preaching to the choir as I sit here in my mom’s house, getting ready to take Kyra to her first day of school tomorrow in Pensacola!

    Amy

    1 Aug 05 at 8:28 pm

  3. Wow, Amy–last I’d heard it was “maybe, we’re thinking about it” and now Kyra’s in school in Da ‘Cola! So I need some more details. Feel free to email instead of putting all in here. :)

    Allen

    1 Aug 05 at 9:18 pm

  4. You better not be saying what I think you’re saying.

    Michelle

    2 Aug 05 at 3:18 pm

  5. What Michelle said.

    Dwight

    2 Aug 05 at 3:25 pm

  6. Michelle, I am not saying what you think I’m saying. I’m not saying that I’ll never be saying what you think I’m saying, but as of right now, no, I’m not saying what you think I’m saying. I might be saying something else, eventually, but I’m not saying what you think I’m saying.

    Allen

    2 Aug 05 at 3:25 pm

  7. …and Donald Rumsfeld once said, “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do no know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

    Jay

    2 Aug 05 at 3:42 pm

  8. Well, hallelujah. I think I might understand what ELSE you might be saying, too. And if I’m correct, I’m supportive of that idea.

    Michelle

    2 Aug 05 at 4:21 pm

  9. Heard a new record was set for heat in Cola town. Heard it lasts for 10 months of the year in Cola town.Up North it’s only 95 for 2 months and only 20 for 3 months and just right for 7. Where do you want to be?

    Gaucho

    2 Aug 05 at 10:32 pm

  10. Hi, Mom–er, sorry, Gaucho. The weather doesn’t have anything to do with our finances (except during the six months we need to heat the house). If it starts snowing cash, though, we’re set!! ;)

    Allen

    2 Aug 05 at 10:46 pm

  11. 95 for 10 months of the year? Where did those figures come from? July, August and Sept. are the only unbearable months here, so we’re talking 9 months of great weather versus 3 bad months–and no snow shoveling, no high gas bill, no dressing the kiddies in 5 layers of clothing, no ridiculous housing prices. Okay, I’ll shut up now because I just moved here so I’m biased.

    Amy

    2 Aug 05 at 10:52 pm

  12. …and then there are the hurricanes with the associated loss of electricity, water, and damage to property.

    In defense of New England, February and March are the only bad months, in my opinion. I like the change of seasons. I don’t mind the cold or the snow.

    I mind the stifling heat and lung-clogging humidity that dominates the summer and fall in florida…6 months. Ok, Pensacola is a little further north, so I’ll cut it down to 5 months for the sake of the argument.

    Michelle

    3 Aug 05 at 8:39 am

  13. It’s definitely all a matter of what you’re willing to live with! For me, The Grandma Factor far outweighs the humidity argument. On Monday I had to run around getting Kyra’s paperwork and registration done for school. I almost cried when my sister AND Cara offered to watch the kids for me. I’ve never had help like this before!

    Amy

    3 Aug 05 at 1:52 pm

  14. lol – I can see you holding onto a chair for support. I’m glad for you.

    Michelle

    3 Aug 05 at 2:26 pm

  15. Okay, okay, okay, everyone. Yes, it is hot in the South. It is cold in the North. It is expensive in New England. There are cockroaches in Florida. Guess what? No perfect place in the world. Nope. Even as a native New Englander, I find that I miss certain things about Florida — the growing season, mainly, and of course, the people I knew down there. No matter how prepared you are, you’re going to feel some culture shock — and in New England, sticker shock. And then there’s that weird, in-between time when you don’t feel like you belong here or there and you just feel kinda lost. It’s normal and rather sucky.

    BTW, there’s lots of cheap (and even free) stuff to do in New England — it’s just that we suck at advertising it. Seth and I have a book of nature walks in Eastern Massachusetts and it lists lots of places, just in this small area. I think all of them are free or they charge a small fee for parking. There are plenty that are good for kids (they’re labelled as such). Where we live, there’s the Charles River down the street, good for boating (NOT swimming) and scenic views and some other place in Newton for similar activities. What to do in the winter? I think we’re going to try snowshoeing. Outdoorsy, cheap, easy (unlike skiing). And the Butterfly Place is open in colder months — we went when it was snowing this year and it was sooo hot and colorful there — very happy time. Of course, none of this really addresses the cost of living, taxes, heating costs, etc. but it seems to balance out in the end when you consider salaries — I nearly barfed when I saw an ad in Tampa for an editing job that required a Master’s in English plus experience listed for less than what I made as a new teacher with only a B.A. Even if I had lived down there and taken that job, I couldn’t have made it. Even if there is a high cost of living here, a higher salary is still a higher salary.

    Tricia

    7 Aug 05 at 5:30 pm

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