When considering quitting my job and leaving my future up to the universe (get used to hippy talk, that’s where I’m at in my life) my finances were obviously a huge factor. A civilized person never talks money, but I have never claimed to be civilized so let’s dive into the dirty. I don’t know financially where I’m going to be exactly. I’m going to be super broke and I know that. If we go to a bar together and I’m drinking from my own water bottle, you should probably expect that there’s nothing “water” about it. Turkey is the cheapest source of meat per pound, so I might roast one up and live off that for a few weeks. Don’t act surprised. The “funny” part is that I don’t care. I think that it is totally worth it and I’m not scared at all. Looking back on my life, poverty is nothing new to me and probably why I am so willing to take this plunge.
My mom who is a quirky, resourceful and endlessly interesting person was a single mother of three. She worked at shit jobs and got paid shit. Her life didn’t really begin until she was done raising the three of us. She just graduated from college in December, which is immensely impressive. She used to put a lot of pressure on me to not repeat her mistakes. In the middle of an otherwise normal conversation with her she would interject:
“And don’t marry an idiot like Tom”
“And don’t have too many kids, I love you but you were not part of the plan.”
“And don’t buy your kids stupid, plastic toys. Wars are fought over the oil used to produce those and they just end up in the middle of your living room floor tripping you up all the time,”
She is finally realizing that it isn’t too late to make her own path, so I get fewer “learn from my mistakes” speeches.
When we were growing up we were really poor, but she didn’t tell us that. I thought it was normal to use one of the fake credit cards you get in the mail as an ice scraper for your car. One time our elementary school was having a food drive for families in need. I remember my horror when I heard about poor kids at school. “Mom! There are poor kids! It’s soooo sad. Can we donate some food to the poor kids?” Instead of giving us a sob story about her finances, working two jobs and barely having enough money for the 5 pound bag of pretzels that served as “snack time” for three months at a time, she was inspired by her naive but kindhearted children and sent a food donation to the school. A few weeks later, we got a box of food from the school and we were pumped. We got our food back, plus some and that never occurred to me. I was super excited to have so much food all of the sudden and thought that the school was a bunch of suckers for just giving us all the sweet grub. This is how blinded to poverty my mother allowed me to be. She could have marked the cans with an X to illustrate to us how absurd we were being. We were poor-I mean POOR- and I was none the wiser.
I won’t starve to death and I already own an ice scraper, so I’ll ultimately be ok. I doubt that I’ll even have to go back to the days of 5lbs of pretzels. Because I hide money from myself, I have a little in savings that I don’t usually acknowledge and will surely be cashing out if this journey lasts very long. I have a few “oh shit” plans in case I find myself scraping by and running out of funds. I could always work at Starbucks, sell some things that I never should have purchased in the first place, collect pop cans from garbage cans on 16th street (my theory is that I could out collect the homeless guys out there because they always get bounced for looking homeless, but when I’m out there in my power suit sifting through trash cans, people will assume that I threw away my BlackBerry or something). Besides, I’m pretty sure that this blog is going to pay off big. Because that’s what blogs are for, right?