Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Life, Dichotomous

dichotomy  (daɪˈkɒtəmɪ) 
— n  , pl -mies
1. division into two parts or classifications, esp when they are sharply distinguished or opposed.

Juggling has become a skill in which I excel. Every month I strategically buy groceries, pay the bills, fill my gas tank and somehow manage to pay my outrageous Bay Area rent. Sometimes it means borrowing money until the next check comes in (I work freelance). Sometimes, when I juggle, things drop.

On the other hand, if you follow me via social networks like twitter, facebook, google+, instagram, flickr, foursquare or here, you might see status updates indicating the opposite: gourmet restaurants, exclusive events, theater seats, trips to Mendocino, Montana and NYC.

How is this possible?

There are a number of explanations. The first is work. I have many fabulous clients that do a variety of wonderful things - such as supporting cultural arts - music, food, dance, wine, performance, etc. I'm lucky enough to be able to attend these events - some of which are exclusively for donors who wear pinky rings worth more than my yearly earnings. 

Second, many of my friends have been successful in their careers and work in high places. Maybe they have expense accounts. Sometimes they invite me to their company events. Or they take me to lunch. Either way, I'm the recipient of perks that probably weren't meant for me. And I'm alright with that.

I also have very generous friends. And I'm not just talking about corporate accounts or holiday Secret Santa stuff. In addition to surprise gifts, sponsored vacations and emergency funds, these folks believe in me. I have worth to them. At least this is what I tell myself. In turn, I, myself, begin to feel worthy and THAT is the real gift. The idea that I'm thought of well enough to be gifted an iPad or flown to NY for the weekend. That there are people out there who like to see me happy. Wow.

Finally, as you may expect given the first paragraph of this post, I'm not skilled at keeping a personal budget. As a freelancer there are times that I have lots of work and great big checks appear in my mailbox. But sometimes it's slow and I can barely meet my rent. Why not save the "big checks" for slower times? Because when they arrive I get very excited and after paying off everything I owe, I might think there is enough left over to, say, go to Montana for a few days to hang out with a friend. A smart person would put that money away. So I'm not the smartest. But I'm learning. 

In the meantime I lead this dichotomous life - one minute deciding which Broadway show to see and the next selling belongings to come up with money for gas and electric. And that's ok. Half the time.