Monday, May 17, 2004

There's no telling what kind of crap you'll knock loose when you're moving somebody. In the quest to make room for her stuff, we've emptied out dozens of old boxes, cleaned closets, sold a desk (how did I end up with so damn many desks?), and sold, donated, or scrapped at least six linear feet of old books. With all that junk going out the door, what did I decide to keep?

Notebooks, my darlings, notebooks. Steno pads, mostly, filled with page after page of my scribblings on every imaginable topic. I filled six of them cover to cover in the year after Carrie and I split, but those are a little too fresh; I'll browse through them in a few years. I did run across an interesting one, though. All but a few pages were blank, and the rest held lists, not narrative. Weird lists, too, not grocery lists, unless I was shopping for virtues: Courage, integrity, humor. Or hobbies: Restore the house, cook great meals.

The notebook was from a "prosperity" class I took back when I was a church-going man. At the time, I was in debt up to my eyeballs and though that was hardly my only problem, it was the most visible one. So we decided to take a class on money. The approach was distinctly Unity, though, in that there was little emphasis on actual money management, and a great deal of emphasis placed on "healing your relationship with money". So we started by making a list of the people we loved, then listing their virtues, then seeing how many of the people we loved had each virtue. Now, of course, I'm thinking, "That'd be so much easier with a database!" But I digress. Once we had our list of core virtues, we were to write a list of all the things we'd like to do, money being no object. And then the list of things we'd like to be. The point of the exercise was to help us write our personal definition of wealth and prosperity, so that we'd know it when it got here.

My eyes flicked over the list, and I found myself making a mental checkmark by each item. Flipping back to the previous page, the list of "things I'd like to do", I found more than half that I had done in the past few years or was doing on a regular basis. Even the credit card debt is very nearly a thing of the past. Wealth has entered my life the way water comes into my basement, undetected, except for a slight change in the air, until I go looking for it.

It's still not what most folks would call wealth. Christie just moved into my 1,000 square foot house with her two cats, and it feels a bit crowded for the time being (though it's getting less so as time goes by). I drive a ten-year-old Tercel. But I'm worth more than I owe, and I own a little piece of earth that will be a better home when I sell it than it was when I bought it. I have the respect of the people I work with and for, and the love of the smartest, sanest, kindest woman I know. I write every day, and occasionally produce something that feels worth the trouble.

Life is good.

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