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The Moment of Now | 2016 | To Portland and St. George


The mission of life is to live [your] potentiality. How do you do it? My answer is, 'Follow your bliss.' There's something inside you that knows when you're in the center, that knows when you're on the beam or off the beam, And if you get off the beam to earn money, you've lost your life. And if you stay in the center and don't get any money, you still have your bliss.  

-Joseph Campbell

Spend While You Can

I do not have a healthy relationship to money owing largely to the time I spent underemployment and poor. As my brain still understands it as a survival mechanism, money is fleeting. Whenever I spend a chunk of it, I am priming the universe to take it all away through some tragedy.

I was raised middle class and my parents were not stingy when it came to our annual trip to Lake George - which is possibly to say that my mother was not stingy, in larger part with my father's money.

Amber had wanted to go on a trip for our anniversary and we selected Maine, because she has relatives there and a series of fuzzy childhood memories. Mind you, she has no intention of visiting any living relatives while she is there, though seeing her grandparents' grave is on our list of activities.

She books several nights in Rockport, so we will be able to attend the apparently nationally known Lobsterfest - bearing in mind that I am allergic to shellfish. I give her my card for a bed and breakfast, since she doesn't have the sort of money she can use on such extravagance. When I see the final price, I feel a hit. We then try to find another bed and breakfast in Portland, but the more interesting ones are booked when we would be there. We end up with a hotel - no breakfast - that costs nearly as much.

I struggle to admit that I can afford this stay, though less well combined with other travel expenses I will accrue this summer (I am never thrilled with the cost of Otakon, particularly since it is not my geekdom or much fun for me, but this is ameliorated by getting recompensed to do a panel). It all blends together into a mass of money spent on things that feel unnecessary.

On the other hand, I want these experiences. I cherish the memories of our honeymoon and trip to Salem. Money is not meant to hide in my bank account accruing dimes of interest every month. I have always felt naked jealousy at my peers who seem to wing their ways to Mexico or Puerto Rico on the regular. Travel is a luxury, but one that tends to be worth it in the long run.

I want to be okay with spending this money because, gods willing, these memories will keep me warm in the midst of winter in the way a few thousand dollars will not. However, Poor Thomm from half a decade ago thinks I am being a wasteful chump and am summoning my own undoing through bad financial management. He does not feel I deserve this, even if I momentarily think erroneously that I can afford it.

I have spent years with people for whom big purchases, especially on travel, barely warranted a thought. For them, money was always there and would always be there. They thought as much about conserving their bank accounts as they would fixate on the drip coming out of their faucet. While I understand their attitude and envy it when compared against my own anxiety toward spending money, I cannot emulate it, not even when confronted with regular paychecks and a savings account containing more money than I have used all year in my penury.

Soon in Xenology: Faces. Travel.

last watched: Bojack Horseman
reading: Raising Hell
listening: Fiona Apple

The Moment of Now | 2016 | To Portland and St. George

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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