Sunday, April 3, 2011

Beyond One's Means

Child as you were of the Great Depression, the expression "living within one's means" has signified to you some respect being paid to budgetary matters, managing to put some emergency fund away, not living ahead of your income, which is in itself a euphemism for spending more than you bring in.  In fact, "living within one's means" is of itself a euphemism for pay-as-you-go, or even if you don;t have it, don't go.

You've lived all around those notions, at times so pleased to have a spare hundred or two cached away that you were even more able than you'd thought to be frugal, get by on the cheap, learning in the process that thrift is an acquired taste for saying no.  Not that any of this makes you a financial wizard or even all that thrifty or all that much the owner of the greater euphemism, the nest egg.  Barring calamity, you are on a nodding acquaintance with that kind of comfort.

The place--or perhaps it is places--you have yet to lure to the kitchen table for a bottle of ale or glass of wine is the uninvestigated side of "one's means," the emotional side.  You can point to sample demographics of various ages, in which none of them is living beyond their emotional means which also means none is taking any chances nor is apt to make some exciting discovery or gain some amazing insight.

All about you there are so-called support groups, peopled by sincere individuals, many of whom wish to help you variously accommodate to grief, depression, writers' block, adult onset diabetes, fear of death, eating problems,gambling problems, and fear of large crowds.  With the belief that you know enough about large crowds to enable you not to want to overcome such fears of them as you might have, there are no apparent reasons for you to visit any of the other support groups.  You believe you are sufficient support group for yourself.  You could perhaps use a support group to get you over the depression that sometimes attends reading manuscripts written by individuals who are quite sincere in their belief that their manuscript is a short hop, skip, and jump from publication at some reputable house, as opposed to one individual who, in order to make it seem she was a prophetess in her own country, paid exorbitant fees to be self-published in the UK.

Your emotional means still blaze out in optimism, even though you find yourself more often open to cynical rebuttal.  You do not think it a sign of failing health or hope to pass summary judgements of a cynical nature any more than you think it imprudent to embark on a project that might take you considerable time to complete.  You still recall your old pal, John Sanford, inviting you over for coffee and Sarah Lee pound cake to celebrate his three-book contract, achieved at age ninety-two (which he lived to finish).

It is your hope not to duplicate past transgressions of financial imprudence, but this is all the more reason why you are impatient to take on the profligacy of spending your feelings.  It will be as though you have won some form of emotional lottery and will be faced with the decision to take on all those glorious feelings now, or would you rather have them meted out over a ten-year period.  Freak no, being 'em on all at once.

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