On laughter

21 October 2009

Last week I had a very interesting experience. Several of them, actually. These experience need a little background though, so bear with me.

I've known for a long time that money and all things relating to it would be the biggest issue Richard and I could ever have if our relationship continued. It was very obvious very quickly that he and I come from two different worlds. He comes from a world where it is reasonable for people to worry about getting fired and you're raised knowing how to deal with bailiffs and an admirable skill is knowing how to get out of bills and steal cable. And I.... well, I don't.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I was raised in a wealthy family. And recognising that he and I have different world-views makes me feel like a snob. But that's really far from the truth. I've got my fair share of debt and bad financial decisions and a bailiff or two in my past. The real issue is actually that we view money in a different way.

For the most part, if I don't have it, I don't spend it. If I can't pay my bills, I don't buy books and games. Being unable to pay a bill is a stressful thing for me and I'll do without food in order to pay it. It's stressful for him too, but he only gets really stressed when his utilities have been turned off for a month or so.

Last week and before, money was becoming an issue. He was the only one of us working since I was still looking for a job, but I was ending up spending most of the money. I didn't mind, but when I didn't have the money for my electric bill, suddenly I regretted some of the trips or meals or purchases. I knew I was getting anxious about it, but actually what I was more anxious about was the fact that I wasn't telling him.

I promised him honesty in all things, but because I'm worried that money will be a flash point for us, I put it aside and tried to deal with it myself. Keeping it from him frustrated me more than the issue itself did.

Then last week I ended up making a surprise visit back to my parent's house. Now, I love my parents very much. They are frugal, industrious people who have managed to create a life and a home that makes it look like they are much wealthier than they are. It is very important that they have things around them. It is very important to them that they have huge retirement funds and that my step-dad be the sole provider.

And when I saw that again, I remembered that money actually isn't that important to me. Yes, I want to pay my bills because someday I'd like to own a house and I'd like my credit score to be decent. But electricity and a house means nothing if you don't have laughter and smiles.

Unfortunately I only remembered this after snapping at Master for a moment, but that rift was repaired. The repair itself was fortunate, however, since the week was about to get more interesting. Master is now jobless, which will only make things more difficult. I got a job the next day and I'm loving it so far, but it will be another week before I get paid and I had more car trouble which drained my account entirely.

For every good thing that has happened, there have been negatives. But somehow, as long as I remember what is really important to me, I think we will be fine. Richard never seemed to lose sight of what was important. There is still love, and smiles, and laughter.


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