Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Need to Leave

This past weekend I was in Ottawa, ostensibly for my bestie's birthday, which was on Monday, but also just to hang out with her and another bestie because it had been an embarassingly long time since I made the short trip from Toronto (and previously, Montreal).  It was *so much fun*.  I came back feeling soul-fulfillingly refreshed and very much like I was making a weird life choice by moving to Toronto rather than somewhere close to my friends (or even the same city - how nice would that be!).  I felt like I had a refreshed picture of who I am when I came back, and started the week in a tremendous mood.

However, two unexpected large bills received on Monday and Tuesday have crushed that super happy feel-good-ness of my weekend.  The weekend was more expensive than I had anticipated, in part because a couple of random expenses popped up, including $90 to renew my passport, and I found myself on Monday evening with far less money in my account than I'd anticipated finding there.  That was a most unwelcome surprise, and I ranted to my Mum about the ridiculously infuriating Hydro bill I came home to (seriously? 46 bucks in "delivery" fees for my $16 of electricity??  Such a racket!!).  Then there was the Tuesday bill, and that added to the stress.  Drew and I are also supposed to be going to Montreal this weekend with his friend Gabe, and I've been looking forward to that so much that it's almost become a deep-seated physical need - to be there, to eat a bagel, to drink a cappuccino at Olimpico, and just breathe.  So after two panicked phone calls, one to Drew to say 'I'm not sure if I can go!', and one to my Dad to say 'I'm freaking out!', I've realised that I'm going to be fine financially, and can in fact go this weekend. 

Talking over finances always helps me see where the money will come from, though it doesn't always help me to justify the way I live my life.  For example, I am making just enough money to live on and make tiny payments on my debt each month, but I've decided that I'm going to go to Arizona to visit a good friend (hence, renewing my passport).  My Dad suggested on the phone that perhaps I could "cut down on the travelling", by which he meant Arizona (which I'd mentioned "thinking about" on Friday because I wondered if he would look after Colbert for me) but also my trips back and forth to Kingston, and surely this upcoming weekend in Montreal.  In the bare, raw Light of Practicality, I should be spending the money for these trips on paying off my debt.  There's no argument against it, really, at all.  The thing about these trips though, is that in an important sense they're non-negotiable.  They're Things Kate Needs To Do.

I've known for a while now that being happy means making decisions that other people don't understand sometimes.  Most decisions that I can think of impact one's finances in one way or another, so lots of decisions that a person makes are going to seem, at least to some, financially insupportable.  When it comes to going to Kingston, despite the absurd cost of gas these days, seeing Drew at least a couple of weekends per month is a priority.  And when it comes to Arizona, I haven't seen my friend in two full years.  That's waaaaaay too long.  Seeing her will be so good for the soul, and I think we both really want and need a solid hang out (with wine and fancy clothes maybe, and stetsons for sure).  Last, as I said above, Montreal is a borderline compulsion right now. 

As much as I like living here, Toronto is a tough place on the spirit sometimes.  It's hard to explain, but I feel like it's necessary to get away from this city when I can.  There are various pressures that come from the cultures of the office and the city itself that chip away at who I take myself to be.  I need to get away and see Drew and my friends to be reminded of who I am, where I'm from, and what I want to be.  So I'm making some strange decisions about how to use my money right now which will surely put me in some tight spots in the coming months, but I'll figure it out later.  Maybe with the help of my tax return.


  1. So great seeing you last weekend...don't bother regretting the money spent. I find it comes and goes when you least expect it, and living your life according to your bank account makes you a Scrooge McDuck...and someone should tell him swimming in money is unsanitary.

  2. this is the part that most especially stands out for me: "to be reminded of who I am, where I'm from, and what I want to be." it reminds me of this idea that came out of conversation YEARS ago with my undergrad thesis supervisor--that we need to recognize ourselves in the world around us to feel comfortable, secure, and even enriched. that's an idea that struck a strong resonance with me at the time and that i've held on to since. your post here added to the idea for me--part of recognizing ourselves in the world around us is recognizing ourselves *and who we want to be too* in the relationships we have with others, in many ways, most notably, our friends.

    i love you very much. i'm so blessed to recognize myself with you.