I spent all of last year thinking I had it too good, especially in the monetary sense, and feeling pretty guilty for it. I don't have to go to work every day, I rarely feel totally broke, I rarely have a solid reason to feel super stressed out. There are so many things everyone I know has to deal with on the daily that I don't have to deal with. There are plenty of things I stress about, like relationships and intimacy and splitting chores and all the other crap, but those are drops in the ocean compared to what my parents dealt with for 30 years straight, and what my peers deal with daily in regards to money and the job market. I have an easy life comparatively.
But man, oh man, what I discovered when I added up my income last week.
I wasn't better off monetarily. At all. Actually, I had the absolute worst year financially that I've had in many, many years of filing taxes. Yes, hubs and I have a business, but that's a pretty expensive thing to do. I kept track of how much money I was paid out from that business last year, and we only started doing it in April '16, so I do have an exact dollar amount. But I thought it was so much more than it was.
That, paired with all the random freelance money I pull in, totaled to less than I've made in a decade.
Yes, I'm married. But we are the peculiar people who keep our finances separate. We each pay half of every bill, every month, and there wasn't a month last year where he covered me on anything other than the occasional date night. I've stretched my mind far and wide to find the money I swear I had, and it's just not there. That's all I made. (Without putting my private numbers all over the internet, I made far less than $20k.)
The difference, apparently, was in the spending of it. I simply didn't spend much on frivolous things -- bar tabs, pizzas, restaurants. Looking at the year in numbers, I realize all that guilt isn't really warranted. I made a lot less than basically everyone I know on earth. The difference was in how I lived, which is pretty surprising to me.
Now I know for a fact that if I had lived in the heart of Denver last year, my financial situation would be so much different. I'd have gone to many a happy hour when I couldn't afford it, I'd have bought appetizers and bullshit. I am a fish who tends to grow with my fish bowl. I'm not taking moral high ground here. I just happened to move to a place that nearly exists without consumer distractions. When any store at all whatsoever is minimum 10 minutes of curvy-ass roads away, it makes one think hard about needs versus laziness, and laziness tends to win out most of the time.
Interesting, this adulthood I've stumbled upon. I've also not had a sip of alcohol since I left the South, for no reason other than I'm listening to myself. I wake up at 7:30am with tons of energy every time I don't drink, and I'm working on a loose no-white-carbs diet, so it works out to not drink. Ain't hard, especially in a legalized state.
Maybe all my wild years needed was a quiet place to collect itself for awhile.