If you have read my blog much, you’d know that two months ago I set out on a life altering adventure. I sold or gave away nearly all of my possessions. I quit my secure job where I made great money waiting tables in a high-end sushi restaurant. I saved up nearly 6,000 dollars and I left Florida, where I’d resided since 2010, to move clear across the country, three time zones, to a different ocean, a different climate, and a different culture than sunny Tampa. I moved to Seattle.
I made many plans before moving out here. I planned to hike through the Cascades, to live free from debt and bills and work and responsibility. I planned to take busses up and down the West Coast, to explore the Redwoods again, to meet hillbilly hikers in the Sierras and to remake myself. I vowed to stop waiting tables and eating shit; I would become the writer I’ve always been meant to be. I wrote about most of that stuff and I impressed people at bars with my stories and my plans.
All that being said, here I am with 75 dollars in my bank account.
I share a one bedroom apartment with my brother where I sleep on an air mattress and hang my clothes on a portable garment rack. I’m not even on the lease because my credit is, well, poor to say the least. I quit smoking cigarettes two days ago because I can no longer afford to budget the 10 dollar packs into my current lifestyle. Last night, I went to the local grocery store and bought 20 hotdogs for 10 dollars. The last time I sustained myself on pig ears, snouts, and assholes was in 1999. I was 18.
Here I am to admit to you and to the Internet (who never forgets) that I have washed ashore well short of my initial goals. I said I was headed to India and I wound up in America. I do have a job. As a server! The job I wrote about two months ago when I more or less said that never waiting tables again was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I’ll have to remember what the second best thing was, won’t I?
Here I am 8 weeks after quitting my job in Tampa. I spent two weeks drinking and being randy in Memphis, where my sister lives. Once that gig was up, I flew (no, I lost the stomach for bus trips the minute I had to actually contemplate being on one again) out here to Seattle and I’ve been here since May 1, drinking gin and eating pork belly all the way up until last week when I grudgingly checked my once impressive checking account to see that rent and household supplies and alcohol – oh so much alcohol – had depleted my funds all the way down to less than 100 dollars.
That’s the way things go. If I hadn’t planned for all the epic adventuring and expected to be financially independent through July I probably would have spent myself dry before I’d left Tennessee. As it is, I made it nearly two months.
It’s cool though. It’s okay. I will collect some money from my new server position within a week. I will barely pay July’s rent in time to fly out to Hawaii for five days and take my meditation retreat. I will not, however, be staying at the resort with the other students. Nay, I shall be freeloading on a beach somewhere because my hotdog money won’t stretch far enough to net me three nights in a resort. Who cares.
Who cares? I guess I do, but you know what? Adventures aren’t planned. They aren’t budgeted and they aren’t predictable. Some of the best moments of my life have come after a series of really irresponsible decisions. How can you even begin to be thankful for life in America without being broke as shit first? I don’t know, though I’m pretty sure other people could answer that question for me. I’ve never worried about starving. I’ve been broke before. That 75 dollars I have resting in my account? It’s a hell of a lot more security than all of these aggressive Seattle panhandlers have got. Oh, and those guys? They do spend much of their ‘earnings’ on bum wine and rot gut liquor, but somehow they make it back up and out onto the corner to ask for more money the next day. I’m not asking anyone for money, yet, but I’m going to try and take a page out of their smelly, illegible book; live for today. Life’s an adventure. Sometimes, you just have to fuck up hard enough to make it one. I’m certainly on the right path.