Money is a funny thing. It’s been the cause of a good amount of stress and consternation in my life in recent years, largely because I had none and was lacking ways to make any. Living expenses had always been low, but racing, traveling, and eating ain’t cheap, and the past year has been spent digging myself out of a rather unfortunate financial situation brought on by a combination of Tour Divide, the job market in Crested Butte, and my utter insistence of not growing up and getting a real job with a real salary and a 401K and benefits and whatever else comes along with working for The Man.
Regardless, a few weeks ago I raised my hands in triumph: The Tour Divide credit card had finally been pain in full. (It wasn’t just the Divide, it was also my entire Spring Road Trip 2012, which was AWESOME, and then a good portion of the following summer where I was completely unemployed). Then my mom sent me some medical bills from being sick last summer and I hung my head. They never stopped. But within a week, those were paid off too and I officially had positive money, for the first time a really long time.
It felt sort of weird, to be completely honest.
I’d love to say it felt like some huge weight was lifted off my shoulders, or I felt a huge sense of accomplishment, but really, I think that it just cemented in my head what a funny thing the numbers of a bank account really are. Sure, they were black instead of red, but it didn’t really change my internal happiness. I no longer had to worry about making credit card payments on time, but I still had to buy food, pay health insurance, and do all those things that grown-ups do. I still wasn’t going to be stoked on paying rent, nor was I going to start eating out every night or stop checking the Manager’s Special rack whenever I went shopping.
I think what finally going positive did was allow me to see was that I now have a regular, reliable income that is based purely on how hard I work. I can always make more money. If I have enough money, I can walk away for a little while and go play. And that, more than any number in a bank account, is awesome.
It gives me the freedom to get up from my computer in the middle of the day, go pester Scott until he gets up as well, and go ride up Animas Mountain, eat some of my new favorite candy at the top, and rip back down the descent, giggling the whole way.
Back in December, I made the intention of finding work that I could do anywhere, any time, and as flexibly as I wanted. I didn’t actually think it would happen. While I’ll never make enough to afford a big screen TV and sushi every night, I get to ride my bike where, when, and how I want.
And that is pretty stinking cool.