Last update: 05-Dec-2013 1:31 am
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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So many things, so little money
I suppose that what worries me is how much I make and how little it buys. It makes me wonder how anyone else out there does it. I worry about the costs of having two children instead of one and marvel at those people who have three or four without seeming to grow a gray hair over it. I worry about where my family will end up living given where we can afford to buy, which is virtually nowhere. I worry about what might happen the day something happens and my musician husband or I alone have to manage. I guess I wonder how come others don’t worry too. But then I read the papers and it’s obvious that many do.
In the last few years, the cost of food has inflated from anywhere between ten per cent and 50 per cent depending on whether you are talking about fish, vegetables, fruit or chicken, and my salary has stayed the same. Housing went from possible to not. I’m willing to work hard to earn more, and now really have to. I’m not sure that I can do much different in the basic living department short of becoming a monk or a mountaineering hermit, and neither can Stone. We are two hard-working, carefully-spending people who still barely meet our financial goals. We make more money than many, but are still likely to not be able to get—or afford—a mortgage. Ironic, huh?
I used to think I’d inherit a beautiful house, then I grew up and recognised I’d have to earn it like everything else. I don’t have the benefit of living at home and having parental support, that pendulum has shifted now as it does for us all at some time and it’s now my responsibility to provide as much as I can. Then there is Ziya who probably won’t forgive me if I invoice her in 18 years time for something that will probably add up to close to a million dollar bill. For all I know, she’ll still be at home living off of the groceries we buy and she’ll arch her eyebrow at my invoice and go off laughing while eating the lunch I’m still lovingly making for her.
Most times I fantasize about winning the lottery. I know exactly what amounts I’ll need in capital for our parents to live off the interest, I know exactly how much Ziya needs and what age she should get it in order to live as worry-free as a trustafarian. I know exactly how much we’d save, spend and give away. Of course, because I hate losing hard-earned money, even small amounts, I don’t play the lottery. Another irony.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it to work as hard as I do. It would be so much easier to relax more, to not be so serious about my job, to live with letting so much more slide, to just be mediocre and happy if necessary, but I can’t. Somewhere inside I’m banking on the hope that if I work hard enough for what I want, I’ll get it. Life is unpredictable and complex though, and you never know what you will be yours at the end and what was supposed to be yours at the end.
Times like this, when I wonder about how we will ever manage, and whether our dreams are unrealistic, I can only shake my head at how desperate it must be for so many other women, mothers and workers out there when just daily survival can be really tough.
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