It was my first day of work. I was lead over to a work space near the rest of the team – a simple, yet pretty good-sized, desk. In the past when approached with a space like this I’ve been told “well, you’ll share this with other interns,” or “you’re just here for now.” But this time, I was told that this very desk was mine for the keeping.
That’s right, I finally did it. I have reached a point in my life where I go to work to my very own desk, located in probably one of the coolest buildings in New York City. Some people dream of their highest future achievements when coming out of college, but for me, it’s all about the moment that I was finally given my own work space to do my job. And this week, it finally happened.
And yet…I barely make enough money to decorate this beautifully large desk.
After the excitement of such an iconic moment in my life, I did what every person does when given a new space to fill: I got on Pinterest. I looked at all of the beautifully designed desks and took notes on what I would like my dream desk to look like. It was a thrill to even dream up such a creative work space. But it quickly ended when I came back to reality and remembered: Wait, we can’t afford this.
I felt angry. And of course, like every good wife, I reacted in the most typical way: I took it out on my husband.
The rest of my night I started to internally blame him for this situation – it was his fault for, well, everything. I was the one who had to work and make the money, and I couldn’t spend that well-earned money anymore on the little things I enjoy because I have to save it. I have to think of someone else when it came to my finances, and it frustrated me. Petty, I know, but I started to be really negative towards him. It was a new kind of low that I hit. I started to brood and get mad, slammed pots and pans, and even began to cry.
And yet, in his perfect way, Oliver just knew. He wrapped me in his arms as I ugly cried into his shirt, and he told me that it was all going to be okay. “Stop thinking about the numbers,” he told me, “it’s not worth it. We’re going to make it.”
It’s in these super low moments, my friends, that I truly see what marriage is all about. Through my temper tantrum I was able to notice that I have something beautiful that money could never buy, even if that means working to simply pay the bills and not buying junk to fill up my desk. Moving to New York City with someone who really cares about me (even in my ugliness) and pursuing our passions together is an absolute dream. I fully knew when we decided to move here and pursue our art that we would never ever be able to live lavishly, because following our dreams is way more important to us then money ever will be.
On that note, here are a few lessons I learned from this little tantrum:
Having a good relationship with my husband is more important than pursuing my Pinterest board.
How easy it was for me to just blame him for everything. I was lucky that he saw through my pettiness, but I may not be that lucky all the time. Sure I want my home and my desk to look like a Pinterest board, but right now, that’s not possible. I can’t splurge for us to decorate our place right now, because it’s not practical. We need the money for food, for bills, and even for Netflix (because it tends to be our go-to cheap date night). I would rather live in an apartment and work at a desk using all of my college furniture leftovers then spending lots of money and fighting with Oliver about it.
Remember, he’s struggling too.
Oliver is a huge gadgets guy. For Christmas he got an Apple TV from his parents, and these new light bulbs that can be controlled from our phones (which helps since we get no sunlight in our apartment, so it wakes us up in the morning). However, he is certainly not done. He would love to make our entire apartment a “smart home,” buying all of these new gadgets to make it top notch. But we can’t afford them. So just because we can’t afford expensive things doesn’t mean that the inexpensive ones I like to buy won’t add up over time…it’s just disrespectful to him when I splurge for myself and make him wait even longer for the things he would want.
Passion > paycheck
This is why I work on this little internet haven of mine. I need to show myself that budgeting every single penny and living a thrifty lifestyle is worth it for us – because it gives us the opportunity to actually do what we love. Plus, as I document it all on this blog, not only am I seeing growth within myself, but I am seeing others catch on to this mantra. The message that it is really possible to live on a tight budget and follow your dream. Yes, there are serious sacrifices involved, but ultimately, being surrounded by people you love and pursuing your hustle is way more satisfying then a pretty desk to look at while sitting at work.