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Posts Tagged ‘personal’

Christmas

I recently read this post by Lisa at Privilege, all about growing up with Money and then realizing, suddenly, that you no longer have Money, with a capital “m”. It made me pensive about the similarities and differences between growing up with and without money. And then getting used to a different situation as an adult.

I grew up without money. My dad and his brother ran a small dairy farm, and my mom worked part-time at a local hospital. We shared a house with my grandparents and wore many hand-me-downs. Ordering pizza and renting a video on a Friday night was a special occasion. Growing up in rural America without money meant many things for me, both good and bad. Mostly good, though.

  • No cable TV, and thus many hours playing Little House On The Prairie or pirates with my sisters and cousins
  • Not enough money for a mortgage payment, which meant being raised by my parents and my grandparents
  • Pride at being a “farm kid” and the knowledge that I was learning to work hard, live on little, and appreciate the occasional luxury
  • A three-bedroom apartment that meant my sisters and I stayed up far later than we should, a slumber party every night
  • Always going as a pioneer, hobo or hippie for halloween because all that required was raiding Mom and Dad’s old clothes
Lisa describes her young life as having many luxuries that mine did not, but a few things, namely “an understanding that one ought to rise above the material, despite its charms. Said understanding is fostered by a very good education and lots of travel,” and “almost unlimited privacy, nutrition, and time to explore,” were part of my childhood as well. Maybe to a lesser extent, library books and trips to nearby historical sites instead of private school and international travel, but still. I did go to a private school, but it was run by a local church. And I did travel internationally, but later, and not with any type of luxury. Except for boxes of peach juice, random heaps of pineapples, and bracelets hand-made by new Bolivian friends.
Bolivia 2

Bolivia 3Bolivia 1

We had a smallish house, affording us little privacy (I once tried to set up a reading nook in the cellar, among the cobwebs and dirt, just to get away), but a hugefarm where we were free to wander and explore at will. Haybales became the walls of our castles, a pond in a glade of maple trees became Narnia and Terabithia.Pile of Kids

Eventually, I grew up, struggling financially in my college years and early career, as I expected. But then I got married, and with Lobsterface came actual financial security. We don’t have Money with a capital “m”, but I no longer have to shop at thrift stores and fix my car with wire and tin cans.
I still do (with varying levels of success), but I don’t actually have to anymore.
We’re not planning to have kids, thus no braces, ballet lessons and colleges to finance, and, if our careers remain on track, we could someday, conceivably, have More Than Enough, and I wonder how I’ll deal with that. The concept is so foreign to me, it’s nothing that I ever expected. I hope that I grow into financial security and handle it with grace. I hope we give much to charity, and continue to travel and learn more about our world, even far into adulthood. And maybe occasionally get dressed up and drink champaign in abandoned demolition sites.
Champaign
Bein' Fancy
That’s what fancy people do, right?
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