I Am Broke And It Is A Choice

The other day I checked my personal account balance, and I had six dollars. At the moment I started to laugh because as a 12-year-old I had more money in the bank than I have now as a 33-year-old. And that is a choice.

A few weeks ago I cashed in the totality of my inheritance from my grandfather for a whopping $108.36. As I sat there with the money in my pocket I wondered if I actually needed anything. I thought about how when I woke up that day I was living in a beautiful home, how when I got dressed that day had an abundance of clothing in my closet, how when I went to cook my fridge was full of food, and how when I drove away from my house that morning my tank was full of gas. I sat there and could not think of anything that I myself needed or my children. So I walked up Church Street in Burlington, and each homeless person I passed I drop a $10 bill in there can or box. When I hit the end of the street I had $48.36 left and I went and got myself a latte and croissant, and I was happy.

My status in life is not linked to my bank account. My status in life has to do with memories made, snuggles had, laughter in abundance, and rude sex jokes made with friends. I don’t need money and things for security I need love. The rest always seems to take care of itself no matter how much I stress about it.

I happen to be a millennial, an older millennial, but a millennial nonetheless. I read and hear about how millennial’s are destroying industries from their lack of purchasing. I can say from my own perspective I buy what I need. I buy high-quality, sustainably farmed, fair trade, organic products. What I do not buy are superfluous items not necessary to the health and well-being of my home and family. 

I hear it said that millennial’s don’t want to work hard or their slackers. So I do not want to convey my lack of money to be linked to a lack of motivation or work ethic. I ooze work ethic. My work ethic inspires other to strive harder and dream bigger. I am not one for handouts. I graduated school debt free, not because of financial help from family members or grants or scholarships, rather because I worked full-time and went to school full-time and maintained a high honor status while doing so. I believe that we as humans are capable of anything that we set our minds to. It may take me learning something and then putting it to practical application myself, so time consuming, but still doing it my damn self.

Since graduation I’ve committed myself to nonprofit work, as I can not morally spend my time to the betterment of a corporation. There is of course a different kind of fall out from working in a nonprofit. The burn out rates are out of control with in the non-prophet sector. And when you take into consideration that I live where I work you can bet your sweet ass that I don’t ever stop working. However I choose to work for something that also rejuvenates me. That I can go to bed each day knowing that I have contributed to the betterment of humanity. I can’t imagine that many people ending a shift at bed Bath and beyond or Ponderosa Steakhouse feel the same.

I love the idea of the slow movement. I have a liberally applied the theories about slow parenting in rearing my own children and the idea of slow investments or slow money resonates with me deeply on a financial realm. The idea that investing money is not done purely for the sake of making the most profit, rather generating some profit but prioritizing the well-being of the earth and employees. I think this idea can be flipped on his head in how we spend money. Taking the time to slow down and research a product or company and purchasing items not that are not the cheapest but that are in line with your personal moral beliefs.

I think this is just what most millennials want. They want to be employed by businesses that will give back to them. They want to buy the products they need and spend what is left on things that will improve their health and well-being. We know what matters to us and we don’t need a big business or media to tell us otherwise. The cul-de-sac dreams of the past are not our dreams, our dreams are to not just survive but thrive. So I’m broke, and that’s a choice. Because I prioritize the things and items in my life that make a difference for me and for others.

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