havin money's not everything, not havin it is
A major consideration out here in the winter, and something that I've NEVER had to deal with before, is making sure things are properly winterized. Basically if there is any kind of fluid in a pipe, it's at risk of freezing and the pipe bursting. Totally new concept for me. I grew up in a city where during the summer turning on the "cold" water would make very warm water come out of the faucet (that was San Diego).
I’m in a situation now where some piece of equipment in the house we are staying in is damaged and in need of repair. As I was attempting to initially get it working I noticed that it was in fact damaged (prior to my attempts) and halted me efforts. The damage however might have led to further damage as it didn’t allow for that piece of equipment to be properly winterized again.
I won’t know the full extent of damage or cost for several days, but an initial quote was that repairing it could potentially cost could be in the low thousands, while repairing the pre-existing damage would have only cost ~$1000. The original damage was very clearly not of my doing, since it happened prior to Liz and my arrival, but the responsibility for the new damage is less clear.
What I’m writing about isn’t the particulars of the equipment, the damage, or the possible courses of action (hence the vague details), but rather my reaction to the situation.
Liz and I have set ourselves up to be able to live for a year on our current savings, and still have some money left over to start a life wherever we end up. In many (or even most) definitions of the word, we are rich. We are able to not work, that is, not produce any work for income, and yet still feed ourselves, travel, be entertained (for example we’ve skied several times), go to the gym, and really live what many would consider a life of luxury.
Then why am I so worked up about this potential sum of money that I might be asked to pay? The reality is that we can easily afford it. In the grand scheme of things it’s not a lot of money, and won’t really change anything of our year. We won’t have to adapt our plans to work around it, we won’t have to give anything up, that money could go out and we will live out our year as we always would have.
I’m realizing that the diminishing of security is what is bothering me. My sense of security is tightly bound up with how much money we have saved. Every month that goes by, every expense that we have, slowly drains that pool, slowly chips away at that security. When I had a job and income, I could always count on a future-me to replenish that pool or even increase it.
Now I don’t know who future-me is. What does he do for a living? How much money does he make? Where does he live? What’s his quality of life? Does he have any worth that someone will pay for? Does he have anything meaningful to say that someone will listen to? As the pool of money shrinks, as the well of security dries up, I become increasingly reliant on that future-me.
This year is a bet on myself, that I can have the life I feel is out there: a life of fulfillment, a life of creation, and life of generosity. A wager on a belief that within me lies dormant something great, something big, something that will make me feel as if I was living into the Purpose, some call that “living in your genius”.
I’ve made the leap, I believe, but as I see that security bleed out, I have my moments of doubt. I find myself stealing glances for jobs on craigslist or job boards for testing or engineering jobs. Parts of me scream out for my old life, for that old security. “What are you doing! You’ll never make as much as you did! Will you really be happy having to worry about money all the time, driving a crappy car, living in a crappy home, working a crappy job? You were a fool to give up what you had!”. It’s like quitting a powerful drug, I can still feel it running its course through my system.
I have NO idea where Liz and I will be living in a year, what I’ll be doing as a career, nor what kind of life we’ll be living, and there is a large part of me that is frightened by that. I’ve found that despite all of Liz’s amazing cooking, the snacks I’ve been eating, and the lack of a regular exercise routine, I’ve still managed to lose another 2-3 pounds. I now weigh less than I did at age 15 even though I’ve gained a lot of muscle since then. I feel healthy and I don’t think I’m underweight (so nobody panic), I think it’s just this underlying worry that is causing my body to burn up more calories and energy.
Trusting in this way is very new for me. It’s a new muscle that I’m learning to flex. As time goes on it will get easier. Every day that life doesn’t come crumbling down around me is another piece of evidence that nightmares are not all that exists in the world.
We are living job-free and rent-free in what is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Where I’ll be later I do not know, but for now I can take security in knowing that this is exactly where I should be.