I love reading Penelope Trunk’s blog. I often visit her site with the intention of staying for just a few minutes and then end up getting lost in her words for hours. Earlier tonight I got sucked down the rabbit hole again. This time, I ended up at a post from March 17, 2007. Talk about the way back machine huh?
I’m a New Yorker. Born in Brooklyn. Raised on the East Coast. My family is from New York and most of them still live there. After I moved to Minneapolis, I began a quest to get back to New York. Every decision I made personally and professionally was based on getting back to New York.
Eventually though I came to a realization. There’s no way in hell I could afford to live in New York. As Penelope Trunk said:
I had never lived in New York City before. But I had seen photos of John and Carolyn Kennedy coming out of their Tribeca loft, and I figured that’s I would live with my husband. It was a harsh reality when I discovered that our combined income would need to be in the millions in order to have a loft in Tribeca. So we moved into a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn that was so small that I had to buy storage for all my books. And just about everything else, too.
Technically, I could afford to live in New York. I could move to New York City tomorrow and afford to live there, but in doing so, I’d be giving up an awful lot of “life” to do it. Traveling would be challenging. My photography passion would need to be tempered. And, I think I’d end up making poor career decisions designed to fund the roof over my head.
For argument’s sake, let’s agree that money can’t buy happiness (for what it’s worth, I think it can), but money is the fuel for what you want to do in life. If you want to travel you need money. If you want to donate time, you need money to offset that charitable investment. Money gets you where you want to go.
Money could get me to New York, but it would cripple my ability to do everything else I want to do in life. One of the more interesting passages in her Penelope’s post was this:
That’s when we realized we had to totally shift our lifestyle to accommodate our work choices. We made big decisions. We stopped being friends with people who couldn’t stop ordering $70 bottles of wine at dinner.
There’s a funny saying, rich people don’t stay rich by giving away their money. When I was a kid, my mom advised me that I’d be lucky if I could count the number of friends I had on one hand. Well, today, I can tell you my friends are less than the number of fingers I have on one hand. I’m grateful for the ones I have. All of my friends, in addition to being awesome people, are also low maintenance. When we get together we don’t need pomp and circumstance. Hell, a pitcher of beer and some peanuts is all we’d really need to make us all very happy individuals. We’re able to get together more frequently because we’re all low maintenance. We don’t need the $70.00 bottles of wine. We don’t need the $100.00 steaks. Frankly, we just need each other.
But, there are other people out there who need all of that pomp and circumstance. They have an “image” to uphold, protect and project. I don’t need people like that. I don’t need people who need me to fuel their image with my money. Sorry, but I’ve got plans. I’ve got places to go. And, friends like that are just too expensive for my taste. But, hey, that’s the price of friends.