Saturday, June 26, 2010

Joining The Artist Class

This recession is hitting a lot of people hard. I'm luckier than many, at least I'm getting work. But I have to count dollars and spend drastically less on vacations, new clothing, haircuts, theater, movies, meals out, and home decor. My daughters have more spending money than I do...and it feels weird to not be able to treat them to things. Worse than that, I can't afford health care, haven't been to a dentist in two years, and really worry about stray bricks, buses, or diseases bopping me. We are having to live on less than half the income we made two years ago.

I was reviewing the sad math of income vs. expenses and it suddenly hit me: why am I paying so much to stay in my very nice upper middle class apartment? I am no Edith Wharton heroine. I don't need to convince you that I am from a family of social note.

I called my friend Deborah. She said, "why not just accept that you are part of the Artist Class, and live accordingly?" Indeed. Why am I paying 68% of my gross income in rent (mortgage & maintenance)? When you look at income after taxes...I am paying a crazy amount of income to live here. What's left over isn't enough to survive in Manhattan, one of the most expensive places to live.

This made me sad for awhile, I love this place...but do I love these walls more than I love living a full life? No. I am looking at how friends live the Artist Class. They have apartments with diy shelving, an overflow of books, quirky but not expensive decor, funky art, furniture of no special value decorated with throws and pillows that you might buy at a street fair...hey wait, that describes me! The only difference is that they are not living in a ritzy building that has been designated a landmark and houses lawyers, doctors, real estate tycoons, TV stars, and top level academic bigwigs.

Unless our combined talents suddenly earn us gold, we will be moving within a year...

The Artist Class. Hmmmm. Maybe I'll find a place to live that has a better view, some light, and more space for my light box and easel. And I have always wanted to visit Italy, all it takes is a change of address.

1 comment:

Deborah Atherton said...

I had a sudden vision of a how-to book on "joining the artist class," including patterns for making throw pillows, lots of recipes featuring tomato sauce, and how to take trips to Italy in the off-season. It might not be a best seller, but I'm thinking it could come in handy!