I am trying out this new thing….it is called being broke!!! I hear it’s all the rage these days since the global economic crisis!!
Don’t get me wrong, I have totally been broke before!!
I have been so broke during my early days of travelling that I have wondered how I was going to survive!! I ended up doing what most 20yr old, broke backpackers do and cleaning in return for free accommodation and living on the food left in the free box.
I have also had my fair share of two minute noodles, made the choice between food and beer more than I would like to admit…..writers note: based on my previous blog posts it should be pretty clear that beer won!!!…and have counted change to pay my rent.
However, thanks to my youthful days of living abroad in first world poverty valuable lessons about finances, living on the cheap and saving for a raining day were learned.
Thanks to these lessons I was able to become debt free and as a result have been somewhat financially relaxed over the last 8 years.
So what happened??
I want to start by clarifying that the financial crisis did not affect me…when I say financially stable I don’t mean investment funds and property all over the world. I mean, enough cash in a high interest savings account to fund a single person, who is content living out of a backpack and shopping at thrift stores to travel the world on discounted airlines, sleeping in hostels and on friends couches for a lot longer than one should do such things!!
Now what happened was two things.
1) I took an entire year off work to travel Europe…This caused me to became accustomed to doing whatever I wanted, when I wanted and ever since I have failed to say things like “NO, I will not go on that super awesome trip to that super awesome place because I need to save my money”. .
2) I moved back to Australia for 8 months. In Oz all of my friends earn tons of money, own nice houses and have nice things…It’s hard to save when everyone is living the high life. Under the influence of my successful, career orientated friends I remembered what designer clothes felt like on my skin, how good it was to sleep on a bed that felt like a cloud and the joy that comes with inviting 10 people over for a dinner party and saying “bring nothing, I’ve got this!!”….. I essentially focused all of my efforts on having a great time rather than saving.
Now both of these lifestyles were great and they worked at the time.
However, what I failed to accept was that I couldn’t have both at the same time, all of the time.
I didn’t want to let my life of luxury go even though I wasn’t working. I have also struggled to accept that I can’t have all the freedom in the world when I am working.
So when I came back to Vancouver after my recent trip to Australia instead of getting a serving job while I searched for my dream job. I instead, went on a ton of mini breaks, partied, joined a gym, shopped, went snowboarding and hung out with friends as I completed my job hunt….Don’t get me wrong I made looking for a job, my full time job…. but…. I didn’t cut back on my spending during my free time!!
So now, due to my lack of forward thinking and my inability to accept that a freelance writer/ entrepreneur does not have the same consistent high income as a person with a 9-5 job.
I have essentially frittered my money away and become that broke ass writer living from one freelance paycheck to another, that people always talk about in movies.
How does it feel??…Lame!! I went out tonight with all of my friends and didn’t drink, then I didn’t go to an after party and I caught the bus home!! Not because I had to, but because I couldn’t bare the thought of my overly generous friends paying for my partying!!
Do I feel more authentic??….A little!!
Am I loving it??…Um not at all!!
Does it inspire me to write??….Yeah, I guess in a way it does. I currently write a lot of shit on my wall in an effort to inspire myself not to tie a noose to my fan and kick out the chair. I also write a lot of text messages to my friends bitching about what it’s like to be broke!!!
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel??….No, don’t be ridiculous…I am a freelance writer now, this is my life!!! I will be perpetually broke as I have chosen a completely bipolar career!! One week I am partying in penthouses and working from home on large projects, the next my budget has been cut or the magazine shuts down and I am back to square one, sending out my portfolio to businesses and publications.
All that said I am going to heed the words of Margaret Atwood and stop complaining.
“Writing is work. It is also gambling. You don’t get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but essentially you are on your own. Nobody is making you do this: You chose it, so don’t whine”
Yep…Just living the dream…….
Till next time,