Friday, August 5, 2011

Flight and Fight

Moving is hard. I hate change in general, and moving just changes everything.  You get lost, your mail gets lost, you don't know anyone, you can't find the bathroom while still half asleep and you keep forgetting where all the light switches are. The loneliness is probably the hardest part, but I would rank having to wake all the way up to find the bathroom as a very close second.

Moving is also expensive. You have to pay for a truck, overlapping rent payments, an additional security deposit, application fees, take-out for at least a week while you search the boxes for your kitchen equipment and replacements for all the stuff you broke because you were too cheap to hire a mover. All that is just for switching apartments. Should you decide to switch cities, states or countries, you will also be slammed with a whole host of fees related to insurance and personal identification.
When the Grige and I moved into our current apartment, I really thought we were done moving. We bought a big TV and a bed frame – a piano desk for him and a reading chair for me. I thought we were settled for a least three or four years. But now that the flash cards are packed away and the GRE is over, His Grigiousness has filled the space with giant scrolls of building schemes and other art work for his portfolio and has started talking about leaving the capitol.
Needless to say, I'm not pleased. I'm not a fan of grad school to begin with, and now we are talking about packing up our lives to go to another city and state where I have no job so that he can spend tens of thousands of dollars that we do not have. Of course I want him to go to the best school he can get in to, but for me to just pack up and go with him seems like financial idiocy.
So here is yet another problem that you cannot spray roundup on. The alternative is to commit personal and romantic suicide by trying to live apart for two years. Maybe we could do it, but neither of us want to. And now we are in the very awkward position of choosing between love and money  - as well as the unknown future and the familiar present.
For me, the decision carries extra weight, because I'm not the kind of woman who just follows her boyfriend around. I could shout at you all day long that there is a difference between making a sacrifice for someone you love and letting gender dynamics make your choices for you, but I would still be bartending or event planning to make ends meet while the man in my life pursues his passion. Not only is that not fair, but it's not me.

At least not without some kind of compromise. Which is exactly what the Grige suggested. "Where do you really want to live?" he asks me when I get upset and start yapping about feminism (while he cooks me dinner, no less). And what he's hitting on there is the real meat of what I want to talk about here, in this blog: You can't let money run your life.
What you can do is spend and save the money you do have as best you can. We will probably move. It will probably be to a place where we can ski, hike and play outside more. Somewhere we can afford more than a 1-bedroom apartment someday. Somewhere it's not so hot that I have to have a "no touching rule" for more than half the year. Somewhere the Grige is, because that is where I really want to live.

Money is important, and it's so easy to let it grab us by the ear and pull us down a path we have no real interest in walking. It's important to have people like the Grige in our lives to remind us that we don't always have make the safest financial decision. Sometimes it's worth the risk to reach for what you really want, instead of what you know you can get. If you don't get it? You're resiliant, you will start over. If you are lucky, someday you will be able to sleepwalk to the bathroom again.

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