My finances are better than they’ve ever been in my life. I can no longer count myself among the lower middle class/just above the poverty line. It’s disconcerting and terrifying being “successful” and I’m trying to enjoy it, but it’s a lot harder than you might imagine.
I could get fired at any moment – that’s always a possibility. Someone could get pissed at me or think I’m a hack and say, Hy, you’re outta here. I always feel one bad decision or project failure away from living under a bridge. That’s a scarcity mindset, by the way: that even in the face of abundance I feel like I might lose it all in the blink of an eye [because I don’t feel worthy of the success].
I have (not) insignificant personal debt and that’s my main focus this year. Now that my career seems stable* and my bosses more invested in me than ever I’d like to knock out that bullshit. Grad school debt not included. I’ll be paying that off till the day I die, or I could live like I was making half as much as I really am and knock it out in 10 years, but that seems like a really unfair choice. Money is to be enjoyed and shared.
It’s weird, though, I still identify as a poor person, not a successful one. I never had that great of a job in my 20s and chose to pour my money into my therapy and nights out rather than my school debt or travel.
When I look back on where all my money went as a young woman in the aughts it was $300/month to therapy, not a travel fund like my friends who were jetting all over the world. I was exploring the depths of my own mind rather than the planet. I don’t regret it in the least, but it did create a deficit in my funds.
When I left my husband who had a 6-figure income I was making a big, fat 0-figure income for what felt like forever. My entire 30s I was either dependent on him, my divorce settlement, or the kindness of my family.
In my 40s I have clawed my way to a more-than-enough income and it feels like I’ve broken through the clouds at the top of the mountain. I’m really not sure I belong here, but I sure as hell don’t want to go below that cloud line again.
My 2020 goal is to clean up my debt and recognize that after years of denying myself little creature comforts now is still not the time to over-indulge… too much. Tickets to Eroticon and some nice clothing and home furnishings notwithstanding. A girl’s gotta feather her nest and preen a little, after all.
Also, if I can convince myself to leave the house and spend the energy, I now pay for my dates’ drinks. What a power move.
*Oh please, oh please, oh pleeeease be stable!