A task that I’ve necessarily set for myself in recent months is learning how to, once again, think small. This is necessary because I’m effectively broke, between the student loans that need to be paid off over the course of the next rest of my life and a very full credit card that is holding my wonderful trip to Ireland and a new bed on it (in addition to a host of moving expenses and my day to day expenses). This is also necessary because after living alone for years in apartments that had generous square footage, I am now living in a small room in my friends house with storage space that I’m sharing in the basement. This is all a good thing (well, I could do without the debt, but otherwise …).
I had begun to feel weighed down by the accumulate weight of my history, especially as it pertained to the things that I owned. It’s progressively more difficult the more years you accumulate to contemplate making a big change and when change is not an option, it becomes very easy to feel trapped. Now, I’m still trapped to some extent by what I owe, but I’ve made some excellent strides when it comes to my possessions. I’m comfortably settled into my small room and the longer that I’m there, the more comfortable I will be with having less space. My books, which currently reside in the basement will continue to follow me, but everything else is starting to feel more manageable again.
Going out requires making more choices again. With limited room on my credit card and finite income that is already mostly allocated each month, I have to figure out what is most important to me at any given time. I still crave the same things, possessions and experiences, but now I’m prioritizing them more. I’m still beginning in this progress, so I’m still making wrong choices, but I’m learning. If I go to this movie, I can’t get this book or go to that event.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been having “Saturday night adventures” with a friend of mine. We get together when I finish work and do stuff. It began with a friend’s concert. Then it was coffee and a midnight showing of Night of the Creeps. We saw a friend’s play and had drinks. This week, with the pressure of very little money, we endeavored to have fun for less than $20. We didn’t set the dollar amount at the beginning, but it was still there as a goal. We had a good burger at 5 Guys in Minneapolis (I’d never been), before further south on Hennepin Ave. We had a closing act for the evening planned at Uncommon Grounds. In between, we wandered into Magers & Quinn, an expansive bookstore and entertained ourselves for 3 hours. We found things we liked, looked through photo and design books, read each other passages we liked from books (and read a few children’s books aloud to each other for an incredibly amusing effect) and talked about the books and authors that we liked and disliked. I spent $15 last night and had a wonderful time. It almost felt like it had flashed back to college, years ago, when I’d done that instinctually all of the time because quantities of money were just not a thing that existed for me. Fun on a budget is possible, and I’m rediscovering how.
I still don’t have internet at the house, though plans for it are in the works. In the meantime, it’s still coffee shops. I’m currently pecking this entry out on my iPad at my favorite Barnes & Noble while drinking a peppermint mocha (today’s total money spent is $16). I’m adapting to my new normal.
More later …