It all started one weekend at Old Navy.
I was on a mission. A jeans mission. You see, every two years or so I do need to buy a new pair of jeans. This has less to do with my waistline fluctuating (it hasn’t, mercifully and frustratingly, since high school) and more to do with chub rub. Living in the city and walking so much, they just wear thin. Like down to the threads.
This past month, the threads were inconveniently timed. I can really only afford to indulge in one non-food, non-utilities, non-rent “THING” per paycheck. My list of needs are piling up really annoyingly. I need to re-order contacts. I need a haircut. I need to buy my cat’s anti-flea medication. I need to refurbish my laptop’s battery. I need X-rays taken at the dentist. I actually need to get my wisdom teeth out but at this point that seems like a joke.
So, I was standing in this Old Navy, looking down at this pair of $29 jeans and I was thinking. Thinking hard. Could I put this off one more pay-check? This was risky business. Wait too long and I could be caught flashing my tightey whiteys to the world and probably at the worst time, like the one time I go out dancing, or worse, when I would be picking up take-out. $29 would buy me another two years of jeans security. And yet, why, why was I standing in that store questioning myself?
Because I’ve conditioned myself never to shop. In my sidebar bio on this very blog, I tell you that one of my goals is to save $20,000. In the past two years I’ve saved $100. I sit in my cubicle and read blog after blog about people who have quit their jobs to travel the world. I’m caught between this feeling of knowing I do not have the disposable income to do what they did and wondering if I’m not trying hard enough.
Because, as my mother pointed out when I was telling her my Old Navy sob story, I do travel. Short little trips here and there. Whenever I can. Whenever I must. “But don’t you think it’s a little pathetic that I have to think not twice, but like five times about whether I can afford to buy a pair of $29 jeans?” I lament to her. “Most people in your position buy the jeans and skip the trip to Mexico you took in July,” she retorted.
Close friends and family will hear me complain almost constantly that I’m poor. Really I’m not. I have an apartment and a Netflix account. I may bottom out every paycheck, but I’m surviving. It’s just frustrating is all. I am running myself into a wall trying to make my dreams come true on $34k a year. I’m not one of those travel blogs you can read for inspiration. At least not yet.
Here’s how I’m dealing with it, at least in the time being. In true Amanda Elsewhere fashion, I’m finding humor in it. So I’ve started this Tumblr. It is called Young & Wild & Broke. I hope you will join me there from time to time as we together we scratch, claw, and clamor our way to the American dream (even if that American dream leads us Elsewhere).