Tonight I had dinner with a dear friend and we were talking about how some of the happiest times in our lives occurred when we were broke, financially. We agreed that this was so partially because we did not have "stuff" to manage or worry about. I am still strolling down memory lane very happily and felt the need to share some of those times with you.
My late husband Paul moved to Los Angeles with two of his close friends one year with the intention of pursuing his dream as a musician on larger scale than he felt was possible in the Midwest. The three of them shared a two bedroom apartment in West LA close to Venice Beach and Santa Monica. About one year later I moved out there too and we all shared the same apartment for a few months. I quickly found a job and fell in love with the city of Angeles. I never thought that would happen because I had always preferred the Bay area. Paul and I got our own place within a half of a block away from the guys' apartment. I eventually got a job with a magazine publishing company and I adored it. It did not pay much but it was enough to scrape by and I loved it. Paul worked two jobs and tried very diligently to break in somewhere on the music scene. We did not have much money and for a long time the only stuff in our apartment was our bed, a card table, two folding chairs, guitars, a 4x12 speaker cabinet and an amp head. We were happy though because we were doing what we wanted to do, where we wanted to do it with each other. We could not afford to go out to see live music and drink like we did in the Midwest so Paul played for me pretty much daily and we cut back, way back, on our drinking. If we got restless we went to the beaches. Venice Beach offered endless entertainment and any beach in Malibu offers Awesomeness. LA is a big city with lots of places to explore and hidden treasures to seek like Runyon Canyon, Silver Lake and places like El Cid to watch Flamenco dancing or The Dresden to watch in wonder the somewhat bewildering act of Marty and Elaine. I remember meeting up with some of my co-workers one night and their girlfriends and as the boys talked us girls were sharing stories of how when we did actually go to one of the "cool" clubs or bars we felt self conscious because we had old clothes and could not afford to buy anything new just to go out. I joined into this conversation in agreement but also thinking so what...I had always shopped at second hand stores so it was rare that I owned anything "new". It did not stop me from having fun. To this day when I buy something my mom asks if it is new or Keri new?
I won't lie, it was not all fun and games or sunshine and ocean breezes...well, it was always sunny and the scent of the ocean hung pretty heavy (so wonderful). We struggled at times but we always went back to the fact that we had each other and we were following our hearts not a guidebook of what society says is supposed to happen. I carry that philosophy with me to this day. I would rather be broke and happy than financially rich and cookie cutter. That said, I do believe it is possible to be financially stable and happy and still do your own thing and I think that being broke and doing it first makes it all the more feasible.
I encourage you to follow your truth and your heart. Take refuge in them because money and stuff only have the meanings that we give them and are innately worthless. We are not