So I know it comes as a real shocker…but I’m not made of money. I know, I know, I exude wealth and prosperity.
I gave a presentation tonight on the Economic Transformation of Eastern Germany after WWII. Zzzz…what? I stood there for 10 minutes talking about the poorest of the poor, and as I sat down, I got to thinking about my own wealth, value, worth, whatever you want to call it.
This weekend, I’m working on my budget. This time, not just adding up what I’ve spent, but instead keeping to what I project I should be spending. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I don’t live an existence where I am going to have highlights, shop on Madison, or get Platinum status. My apartment is to be outfitted in Ikea, not Pottery Barn. I have no need for designer labels or buy anything that needs to be taken out of a glass case. My shoes do not come in a velvet bag. I don’t clutch an embossed purse.
Instead, my money is better spent on enjoying life itself – a good bottle of wine (fine, two) with a friend, starting my day with my Dunkin’ Donuts, saving up for riding, tennis and golf lessons. I don’t live as a pauper, but I ensure that I will never have debt and that I will own my own home. Keep in mind, I would love to have tailored clothing and get my nails done. I read plenty of fashion magazines, and participate in the droolfest that is the September Fall Issue. But I also recognize that it sure as heck doesn’t make us better than anyone else.
As the great Eleanor said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” It’s not easy in this city.. I don’t escape the jealousy and the pressure in keeping up with friends, strangers on the street, or even my own nagging thoughts. I know too well the pursuit of a quick shopping high, only to be left with regret, or worse, no feeling at all.
In defining myself, I’ve been raised not to determine my sense of self from what I can order online and have shipped overnight. For Christmas, I asked for a written letter, and I cherish its handmade craftmanship more than any Italian stitching.
The preference to spend money on education, dinners, travel, tickets to see Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig on Broadway (worth…every…penny) is the decision I’m making. It’s a struggle at times, but I hope, with all of its challenges, that I can continue to see that I’m chasing the right things…for ‘lust is all get, love is all give.’
I don’t consider myself a plain Jane, but I’m hoping that people notice me, not for the cut of my blouse, but because I have a pretty good laugh and I can be quite charming. I can! I CAN! Shut up.
I never really liked Mr. Big. He was too flashy, too debonair. I liked Aidan.
My television set is from my grandmother, the belt I’m wearing my mom’s, and my living room chair is my sister’s. At least I can say I’m surrounded by the ‘people’ that love me.