Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Am Ridiculously Wealthy

Well, I am.  I'm not bragging, or claiming some social superiority, or even just OMG FAR OUT AMAZING GUESS WHAT WE WON THE LOTTERY crowing because that didn't happen either.

It's just that I need a new bookcase.

So, once upon a time when this happened, I might well have made one, being pretty handy and all.  We still have a pretty funky and very solid piece I made from recycled jarrah floorboards (jarrah is a local native hardwood, lovely to work with if heavy and HARD) and oregon pine pallets that does the job very nicely.  It was actually a bit of OT for while I was recovering from my back operation back in '05.  Now though, depite having a shed etc my hands/arms/everything are not up to the task.

Why do I need a new bookcase anyway?  Because we are fabulously wealthy.  Our book collection, along with the stuff you accumulate over the years that needs to live on shelves, is growing.  Even though we recycle, donate and delete crap quite regularly, there is more stuff now than we can store.

I should be very clear here - we are incredibly poor.  By Australian standards, living on a Disability Support Pension, with no other source of income, and with all the added costs that chronic disease adds to a lifestyle, puts us firmly hovering just above the poverty line.  We do better than those on Unemployment Assistance, but then my life costs more in some ways too.  As you know, I have a funeral coming up pretty soon (or soon enough) and feel the need to plan ahead.  I have gotten nearly half way to funding it too, through the kindness of friends and strangers, so that when I am gone, Meeta won't be entirely cleaned out and destitute.  Well, that's the idea - we'll see what happens.  Or she will.

But I need a new bookcase.  You see, this is a very modestly-sized house, and Meeta's study apart (a small room already crammed with shelves and so forth) it needs to be pretty tidily kept so as not to feel cluttered and full of bad feng shui.  We're already doing that horizontal stacking, tiltingly-piling on top of normally-arranged books thing and it's getting out of hand.  Flat surfaces are being slowly subsumed by displaced objects and books.

Also, I've worked out two potential spots in my room where a bookcase of one or the other dimensions will go nicely, without looming or disrupting the sense of peace, balance, and functionality.

So this afternoon, I'm going to go and see if I can get one.  Because I can.

This is my definition of being incredibly wealthy.

Maybe its because I've spent pretty much all my adult life (I was well catered-for as a child, but frugality was always a pointed theme from my parents) being hand-to-mouth. So many of my generation who never did (or who couldn't do) the career + mortgage = settle into wage slavery equation know the feeling.  But today, I can just comfortably enough find a way to wrangle a hundred or two dollars out of the consolidated revenues, having just a teeny buffer against small fates like vet bills and plumber call-outs, because we stash away as much of the precious government dole-out as we can against such eventualities, and are real about what things bring us happiness.

A new bookcase will make me inordinately happy for days at least, and will contribute to my sense of home and the amenity and beauty of my surrounds no end.  We own a nice-enough, nearly ten-year-old car that's OK on petrol and we can afford to drive down to the city every now and then on such a whim.  I'll pick up some other 'city' supplies while I'm down there.  And at present I can still drive safely and well, so I shall.

Choice is the thing that makes us truly wealthy.  Beyond food, shelter, water, clothing, and a reasonable expectation of this continuing, having enough resources to make a choice about some stuff constitutes real wealth.  Any more than that doesn't really increase your happiness much, I don't think.

Thankful, I am.  That I can have such wealth, compared to the vast majority of my fellows who struggle to meet the basic needs of life, and are lucky to get the education to enable them to read a book, let alone own enough to even warrant a bookshelf.  That I can substitute my own labour with the luxury of purchasing someone else's to make a piece of furniture grown from trees is a testament to the luck of my birth.

So anyone who does those FML posts who gets three (or more) meals a day, has a house to live in tonight, and internet access?  Yeah.  Shut up.  You got it good.  Let's not forget it. <3

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