What's the cut-off concerning one's age in months? A six-month old baby I can understand, but 18 months is cutesy and pushing it. He's a year and a half! Shouldn't he have his own Twitter or something by now? God, cut the cord. Part of the reason I'm glad this trend peters out, as a 361-month old myself, is that the start of every month is a complete and utter shock to me and my wallet.
I have not lived under my parents roof for almost ten years now and, as such, am subject to monthly expenses like rent, food, phone, etc. Intellectually, I know these bills are coming but somehow, mid-month, when nothing is due, I incur a stupid expenditure. About a week ago, for instance, I was at work and sweating like a monster. It wasn't hot in the store, I'm just kinda fat. I was wearing a black button down shirt, which you think would be forgiving, but I was horrified to discover that the sweat tributaries had pooled around my pizza gut and created a Rorschach inkblot stain which cruelly, inconceivably, developed a white outlet around itself on the fabric. Like my sweat was a dead man and detectives had to chalk outline the silhouette. I was horrified and decided with foolhardy, mid-month impulsion, to buy a sweater off the rack at the store. Granted, it was on sale, but even a sale sweater with employee discount works out to about forty dollars. Forty dollars, when I could have just folded my arms, or asked for a brief recess to air out my pizza gut in the break room.
I am not doing badly, from a financial standpoint. My job is steady, I have freelance income in dribs and drabs (but oh those dribs! If I had known volunteering for a non-profit would net me no more than a feeling of smug superiority, I wouldn't have gotten those highlights). Plus, the Doc makes enough Doc money to keep us more than afloat should I sweat on the wrong person and get fired. But I still feel that end of one month, start of another pinch and the associated guilt and shame cascade. That has to change.
Dream: Be better with money.
Goal: Achievable. When I lived in the Big City, I marvelled at my contemporaries. There were points when I held down one full and two part-time jobs, and I still had to hit Jon or my parents up for cash. It was humiliating and demoralizing, especially when I had coworkers in all of those jobs who seemingly made do just fine. I think part of the Big City's reputation for behaving arrogantly, as if Toronto were the centre of the universe, comes from the harsh reality that it's a really, really expensive place to live. In other words, if a Torontonian is able to somehow own a home and make a go of life there, it is because they have worked extremely hard to earn their spot, and would be hard-pressed to shut up about it. I couldn't hack it and it burns me up inside. But people obviously are smarter with their money than I am, so it is time to join their ranks.
Plan: Make more of it or, alternatively, develop a stronger hold on the money that I have. Here are some ways to build and save some income:
Seeds. Man, I wish I could just eat grains and seeds. They are cheap, plentiful, and healthful. Every month I could get an XL seed sack from the feed store, and just graze on handfuls whenever I was hungry. I feel like I'm constantly buying groceries for stupid meals to shove in our stupid faces. With just a little seed money (ha ha HA!), I could keep me and the Doc in lean, fighting shape.
Canvas. When did we all decide we just had to wear clothes? And not only that, but they had to be form-fitting, colourful, stylish, and different from day to day? I wish I just had a giant swath of canvas I could staple myself into every day. I'd have a linen canvas for summer, one lined with pelts for winter, and reversible burlap for autumn and spring.
Cable and PVR. You can fucking forget me giving that up. If I can't record Chopped, then fast-forward when the contestants talk to each other between rounds of Chopped (which, if you haven't seen it, is the most awkward two minutes on television), then I might as well live in a cave.
Live in a cave. If I could somehow move my bed into a cave and get some cave WiFi, I think I'd be okay. My apartment has me in a bit of a rage of late. Some asshat keeps pulling the fire alarm at four in the morning. The fire department has to come every single time, and check every suite in our 20 storey building every single time, while we wait outside and stew. I know this is not the building's fault, the fire department's fault, the superintendent's fault, etc., but somebody has to figure this out and until then, I hate that we're still shelling out so much in rent money. By the way, they've never found a fire and it's not a system malfunction, so I hope whomever the prankster pulling the alarm is ends up in a boy who cried wolf scenario where the tenants and fire department decide finally to ignore the blaring alarm while he burns to death.
Work smarter. The real reason monthly bills sting so much is because non-monetary return on my investment of time in projects and ventures I really believe in. I feel like I'm afforded wonderful opportunities to work with great people on exciting things, but I spend so much time and take in (comparatively) so little money that I can't help feeling discouraged and worse, as evidenced here, I can't help but whine.
I can't imagine what it must be like to have an actual six month old at home. Or an eighteen-month old. Or an eighteen year old, for that matter. When money problems move from being theoretical dilemmas to actual life or death situations. When I see parents, especially ones close to my age, I am galled by own indulgence and sense of entitlement. I think of my own parents, who worked jobs they hated when I was young, just to provide, then both of them changed careers in their forties and fifties, because they finally had a little more financial stability to do so. Yet, I don't have children myself, or a mortgage, or debt. I can't help but think if I don't work for minimum return now, I won't have that luxury later. Is it better to grasp at straws, be thrifty, and hope something big will happen? Or seek a more stable, if creatively stifling path, and just grow the fuck up? I'm sure there's an answer to be found here, but I can't think about it now. I have to get to work.