When I was little, my bed was a mattress on the floor.
We lived in a duplex on the East Side of Houston, in an area that even now is considered dubious (though it’s rapidly gentrifying because of the rail line under construction). Though we didn’t consider ourselves to be poor, we didn’t have money for eating out or other “luxuries” like that.
My Dad worked in construction. Most of my life I remember he always tried to improve our financial situation. Sometimes that meant working two jobs. Sometimes that meant that he ran small projects on the side, like running a stall at a flea market. Eventually that meant opening his own business and throwing caution to the wind that way. That was when I learned a new word: subcontractor.
Before I was even double digits in age I was already helping out by separating bills into category piles so she could take them to the bookkeeper. As I got older, my “assistant” duties got more involved (at one point I was human resources and payroll).
I tell you this so you can get an idea of one end of the spectrum in my life. So that when I say that I bought my niece a bracelet at Tiffany’s for last year’s birthday, or that my best friend’s child has a personal shopper, or that I paid $30 for a small bag of organic pine nuts… so you can understand what the 180 degrees looks like for me.
But I’m not done. I keep reminding myself that I’m not done.