Saturday, April 12, 2014

Nest Eggs

This morning, we pulled out the futon from a couch into a bed, piled the pillows on top, and snuggled in with bowls full of potato hash, guacamole, and a poached egg. I had a bottle of kombucha by my side, a blanket from Cambie, and Andy Samberg on the TV. It was the coziest I've been in a long time, and I take my coziness seriously.

It sound silly, but after a year of denying myself material things in the name of, oh, you know, unemployment, being able to surround myself with beautiful things feels pretty wonderful. Like, for example: my wallet, which was a beaded coin purse emblazoned with an unabashedly knock-off Chanel logo, had been slowly disintegrating for the last eight months. It had been shedding beads, and the lining had come apart. It was pretty sad. So being able to treat myself to a new Bookhou wallet—one that has a fully functional zipper, even!—felt special. Like a treat.

It's not that shopping is a panacea, but I'd been feeling strapped for cash for a really long time. I've spent the last year browsing online and sighing over things I can't afford (which was pretty much everything), deciding which body wash I was going to buy based solely on which brand was on sale, and skipping expensive monthly magazines in favour of the expensive quarterly ones. I realize that is the highest and most obnoxous brand of "my diamond shoes are too tight" complaining—I can't afford Harper's every month, you guys—but when it came at a stage in my life when I started to see several of my friends motor through a tax bracket or two, it made me feel...young. Like my shit wasn't quite together. It also frustrated me to no end. What was wrong with me that I couldn't afford nice things? I should be more on top of my game, &tc.

Creature comforts have power. Buying a nice bottle of wine for a housewarming party, being able to afford a dim sum brunch, or treating myself to a bunch of just-because tulips? That's allowing yourself an existence beyond mere subsistence. But that can be tough to develop. I struggle with spending real money (I agonized for months before plunking down the cash for a pair of super-cute clogs), and I likely always will. A pile of student debt (by most accounts, it's a foothill, but still, it's there), a pathological need for a savings account, and the knowledge that buying things doesn't really change anything about a person, have combined to make me leery of spending cash. But that leeriness is a luxury of someone who has money; when there's no steady income, you stop asking yourself if you should this party dress or that pair of shoes, and start comparing prices between grocery stores. Buying a house? Out of the question. Traveling? That's for people with paycheques.

EI carried me for nearly a year, and it was supplemented with a small but not-insignificant freelance income. My family is generous, and my boyfriend is the type of person who can sense when I'm feeling especially broke and treat me to something small but thoughtful: flowers, maybe, or even a can of Fresca. Just a token that says, "hey, you deserve nice things." He's a good role model in that way.

Now that I've landed a job (hurray!), and I have a couple special events coming up, I'm feeling more wiggle room in my spending habits. That's not to say it's a free-for-all—I don't understand why wedding dresses are, like, thousands of dollars, and I'm still light-years away from home ownership. But I bought the cute clogs. I'm cuddling under the blanket. My fridge is stocked with kombucha. I'm working down my student debt and saving up again. And having a nest egg, abd being able to make my nest beautiful at the same time, feels really good.

Image via Aubrey Jo via Pinterest.