Growing up in poverty seems to have warped how I relate to ambition and security. Now 5 years on since I’ve attained my doctorate, I still am without the steady, long term employment the picturing of which did much to motivate my pursuit of an advanced education.
Deep picture memories of our belongings on the curb after an eviction, of a refrigerator housing only ketchup, of walking home carrying bags of groceries when everyone other family seemed to possess a car, and so on, provide a foundation of anxiety that I am anxious to quell. A major problem: that anxiety initiates a habitual orientation toward scheming after a future of settled financial security, to the point that living in the moment has essentially been held hostage for decades. Positive visions of pursuing my art, creative writing, bird watching, teaching my children to identify wildflowers, all manner of optimistic actions have, it pains me to realize, been shelved until such time as I finally get the job that will let me relax into my happier life.
Alas, the meantime has become a wasteland of cover letters for naught, interviews that impress but not enough, and always always that worry over the future that has cleaved to my hopes for living in the now, someday.
Is happiness actually a matter of forgetting about the money, and just doing the good stuff now? Maybe. But about that 50k in student loan debt….