Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Selling Out - Wrapping up Sold Out!

I guess all us baby boomers do it at some point, selling out, I mean.

Since James and I were born at the tail end of the baby boom (1963 & 1964 respectively) we were among the last to do it. The picture is us in 1986 (it only looks like 1968!) back when we tread lightly on the earth because we couldn't afford to do otherwise. And even though we drove a complete pig of a vehicle - a 1970 International Scout (James, correct me if I'm wrong on the year) we couldn't afford to drive it anywhere. Idealists? You bet! We were out to save the world from itself. We spent most of the first ten years of our marriage with one or both of us in graduate school. Young liberals in love. To say money was tight is an understatement. I once got mad at James because he had an evening snack of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich after we'd already had dinner, and I was worried that we would run out of food before the rent came due. April is not the cruelest month - it's February which has the fewest days before you have to come up with rent again. I remember thinking I would never take a plane trip again because I couldn't imagine ever being able to afford one again.
Like Llewellyn we are now solidly "middle class". Of course most people think they are middle class, even those like Llewellyn who have two homes, and three television sets, and nine computers. I would like point out that we have only one home, one television set and two computers and be a bit holier than Llewellyn, but the fact is we could probably afford to have as much as he does if we really wanted to. Unlike Llewellyn though, we have about as much job security as one can have - James and I both have tenure at a State College. Llewlleyn never knows where his next job is coming from. James and I moved a lot in the first 10 years of our marriage. It was always an adventure. Twelve years ago we came to Bridgewater to take a job, our daughter was born here, and now the prospect of picking up and moving somewhere else is just too adventuresome for us.
I am intrigued by those who give up spending. I have been following the "My Year Without Spending Blog" and have read of others who went on a year-long spending fast. I imagine I could do it, too, as I actually hate to shop so it wouldn't be much of a challenge for me. I like to think, though, that I make my purchases with some thought behind them. Lists of thing to be purchased are made, and things are removed from them, or postponed indefinitely. I am glad to do this so that when I want to build a bathroom on the second floor of my house, for instance, I can pay for it without borrowing. I also know that no matter how much I attempt to lessen my footprint on the earth, there are "necessities" that come with living in America that most of the world can not even dream of having.
If, like me, you think you are middle-class check out the How Rich Are You? website. You will probably find, as I did, that you are really filthy, stinking rich.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! We are in the top 1 percent of income now, but even in our leanest graduate student days we were probably in the top 10 to 15 percent, globally speaking.