Tag Archives: money

My Feet!

I’m at my brother’s house, letting my feet heal before I head back to Asheville. My brother and his wife are long-suffering, understanding and generous. I know he would probably love to see me head back out when I heal up, because he’s such an avid backpacker and outdoorsman himself. He also has respect for my decisions and is probably breathing a quiet sigh of relief. Yeah, he’d love to see me stand on top of Katahdin in September, but he’d also like to see me putting more of my art out, submit my writing and be safe in a place where I’m at peace with myself.

Like I said, he and his wife are rare, wonderful people who I am grateful to have in my life.

My feet still hurt. I have to take some pretty serious painkiller to move around, so I spend a lot of time in bed, letting the tissue rebuild. When I hobble to the bathroom I think of the people I’ve cared for and how they haven’t been able to navigate freely for years. I never want this for an extended period of time. This just reminds me that my life offers me more freedom than I realize, sometime. The prison of bills, of trying to make a tiny bit of money cover necessities and hope there’s enough left over for the inevitable surprise (car trouble, bad weather, etc.) keeps a cell for most of us. I’ll remind myself of that the next time I get angry when the money doesn’t stretch far enough. At least, I’ll say, I’m ambulatory, healthy, and I can depend on myself.

It’s good to be back.

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Countdown

It’s February 15. Mid February. I’m counting in weeks now, instead of months. I have my tax refund, but other things have made serious dents in the money I’ve worked so hard to save for this trip. I don‘t  care. I’ll make every effort to have enough to be comfortable on this trip but if there isn’t much money, I’ll make do with what I have. I mean, it’s not like I haven’t been doing that for…how long now?

In the past few months, I’ve been living in other people’s homes. I try-very hard-to be a good guest and pay my way with housework, errands, cooking, anything to make up for paying with  actual cash. I’ve been more successful at some times than others. I don’t have nearly the amount I thought I would have by now but then, none of us can predict the future. I also would never have predicted some of the situations living in someone else’s home have created.

In fact, I feel terrible even hinting that there has been anything but graciousness toward me. To that end, I won’t post specific incidents, but I will say that I’m never going to do anything like this again. It feels like something else I failed at.  I have spent a great deal of my life feeling like a failure. Failing at marriage, love in general, my graphic design career. Owning a home, keeping a job, I’ve failed at pretty much everything we do as adults to build our lives. Don’t go leaping for the keyboard to tell me I shouldn’t feel that way. Should or shouldn’t has nothing to do with it. Feelings are feelings. We can’t control them. We CAN control what we do. So, every day I just keep getting up and doing my best. Every night, I hope it’s enough. When it isn’t I keep going anyway. I cry, I cuss, I blame the universe, I feel sorry for myself that all my work doesn’t matter…and then I get on with it.

This trip has actually given me hope, a goal, and a chance to do something I’ve always wanted to do, something that can help me define myself in terms other than what I didn’t do.

My art, my writing-my creative life-has helped me see that the other failures aren’t any more important than I let them be. Of course, failing to keep a job can certainly affect where you live, what you drive, etc., but I’ve also learned to just accept being poor and never having anything extra. I don’t want a big house, an expensive car, new shoes every week. I want to be able to keep a little money aside, I want to buy art supplies when I need them, and I want to be able to keep my car running. I have no desire to ever own property. I want enough to spend my days writing, making art, without worrying about rent.

So that’s my long term goal, I guess. A small, simple life that no one can interfere with, or judge.  The past few years have disconnected me to the point I find myself staring at people, wondering why they do it. Old, poor, miserable, panicked. Why? Why do I do it, is the logical sequence and too many days I have no answer. I ache for this time on the trail when I can stop and stare at the sky, listen to birds, drink from a Spring, feel the muscles in my body strain, hear my own breath, open myself to cold and heat and rain and hunger. Feel alive and connected, something I haven’t felt in a long, long time.