Monday, January 13, 2014

"A Mark, a Yen, a Buck, or a Pound"

It's a true tragedy of life, that money not only makes the world go 'round, but it can supremely affect your emotional scale. When you have money to do the things you want to do, the excuses usually lining the path to your goals are somehow miraculously clear. On the flip side, when there are excessive bills to be paid or just a lack of substantial income to play with, options tend to seem much fewer and more suffocating. In New York City, I had periods of financial security, though the vast part of my ten years there was tainted with the feeling that I was constantly barely treading water in the financial pool. As a cliché "starving artist", I was frequently at war with the desire to be financially viable whilst also clinging to the hope that art could sustain bills. Rest assured, I have not let this dream die. However, a life of living in an expensive city while often not being able to enjoy it, never sat quite right with me.

Now that I am in Paris, living essentially rent-free, I am able to subsist on a much smaller budget, though the dreams of lofty jet-setting and decadent carousing are still rather infectious. Though I believe in abundance, I have just never had consistently positive financial karma. Don't get me wrong, I find money when I need it, I get a job when I have to, and the true goals of my heart never kowtow to the demands of economy. As contrary as it may seem, I often spend more money when I'm poor, as if needing to feign affluence or just as a treat for not being rich. But in general, I rarely embrace capital as a kindred spirit. The thing that tends to most frustrate, however, is that I generally choose to spend my money on experiences rather than possessions. To be clear, I love my pretty dresses and silly knick knacks, I have my smart phone and ipad and various modern accouterment. And of course I have my moments of completely irrational purchasing, such as when I NEEDed a Nespresso machine (the second one I've bought in France) and just wouldn't let it go. But more often than not, I would rather splurge on dinner with friends, a weekend trip away, a self-produced cabaret act, or a complete change of residence to an entirely different country. This tends to leave me very few tangible proofs of my monetary worth, though my heart may yield more memories of joy and love than many others. 

And while I would not for the world exchange experiences for possessions, I often wonder about things like assets... a word used to describe the financially viable things in your life, as well as to describe the positive things about who you are as a person. I could write a novel explicitly voicing the assets I believe I possess as a human being... love, humour, creativity, smarts, beauty, ridiculousness, etc... But when it comes to listing things that could monetarily amount to wealth, security, and prosperity in my old age, I'm not sure the list has even begun. The conundrum... Can money buy happiness? Absolutely not. But it's sure as hell necessary to fund a myriad of things that bring happiness. As I constantly refer to the film "Moulin Rouge" as "the movie that describes my soul", I use it once again to compare... While I love the Bohemian ideals of Freedom, Beauty, Truth, and Love and herald them as the inherent breath of life, I know that Baz Lurhmann's budget for the film would come in quite handy if I ever actually want to live in a giant elephant... Now onto making the money I need to flourish my romantic soul...

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