Monday, April 30, 2012

Everything and Nothing

If you ever delve into  'The Lives of the Great Poets', you will find a thread that is unrelated to all writing. Most poets, and writers come to that, seem to go through splurges of wealth and affluence followed by dire poverty and lives lived in run down garrets. I remember reading about one guy who got a stipend which was to last him for a year. He went out and had a crimson waistcoat hand tailored, bought a pocket watch and then lived like a pauper eating stale bread crusts and drinking water for the rest of the year. Oh how right he was!
You see I've gone through various stages of wealth and poverty over the years, and I find it interesting. Growing up in middle class south county Dublin was a bit like living in a bubble. I assumed that there was a certain level of affluence that would always be a given. Just like we assume that having electricity or running water is a given, even though all of these things are always hanging on the edge of a cliff.
In my early twenties I had already set up my own business and over the years I found that money came easy to me. So easy that I was always to ready to let it go too.
Then, at some stage, I had this epiphany. I decided that I had enough money now to live off and I'd go back to college and then become a wroiter loike. It was a great idea and there were a few very bohemian years that I will never want to have missed. But then the money ran out and it was all just a tad less romantic than how it had started out.
But here's the thing, here's how to live a life of constant abundance - no matter how much or how little you have, if you splurge a large amount of it on something luxurious that brings you joy, well then, you will always be rich.
I was trying to explain that to a friend of mine recently. We were going to dinner, my treat. He was all like  lets go somewhere cheap, I don't want to put you to any expense, and I was all like, let's go to the best restaurant in town and live it up for the night. Me being the dominant and bossy type we ended up making a democratic decision to go to the good place. Because you see, what's an extra 50 or 100 quid if you always remember your lovely night out? And let's face it, even a tenner is too expensive if you're paying for something that involves a compromise.
So I've noticed a pattern. I tend to spend most of my monthly salary in week one. Then I spend the next two and a half weeks penny pinching. The last half week of the month is spent going through the pockets of all my clothes and routing down the back of the sofa for loose change.  But you see, on the hunger days, you can still think of the good wine. And if you only had abundance, you'd be an awful ungrateful and miserable git.
Maybe that's why I can't bring myself to set up an excel spreadsheet with a budget plan, and maybe deep down I don't like to hold on to money for too long. Go on, give me a lecture on how reckless I am and how I need to change my ways. Remind me of how I complain when the cashflow aint flowing.

Truth be told, I hate all of those 'get rich' plans on how to accumulate money. They do talk some sense, but ultimately they only ever work if you have no sense of community and if you don't like the good life.
I've never been able to click with stingy people. I always think they're working out how much they can save, but I never know what they're saving it for, because when they have it saved they'll be too stingy to spend it.
So there you go, the last April blog. It's the end of the month. Did you get paid? Ever thought of donating to me on this blog? I promise to spend it on good wine.
And that reminds me actually. I hate when people don't give money to beggars on the grounds of 'he'll only spend it on drink.' I mean hello, we spend our money on drink too. What should a homeless man spend his money on? The ESB bill? Candlesticks? A lawnmower?
As Robert Frost reminds us 'There's no money in poetry, but then again, there's no poetry in money.'

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