Twists of fortune, wedding vows, the woes of the economy, dreams of riches. You might write about what it was like being a poor college student, or what you'd do if you won the lottery. Or about what true riches are, or different kinds of poverty: poverty of the spirit, of the imagination, of the pocket. Have you ever encountered true poverty? How about ridiculous wealth? Most of us probably fall in the huge spectrum in between, but if you've had any experiences with the extremes, it might be interesting to write about that.
I grew up in a typical lower-middle class family - mom, dad and three kids. We lived in a rural subdivision and both my parents worked. We didn't have oodles of money, but there was always enough for bills, food and the ocassional drive-in movie on a Saturday night.
When I married the first time, I was only 17 year old (yeah, I know, I was crazy). The first 6 months of our marriage, I was busy finishing my senior year of high school - after that my husband and I both worked. Then 3 years later, along came baby number one, and I became a stay-at-home mom, because we couldn't afford a baby-sitter. Money was very tight and there was no extra left over at the end of each month. By our 5th year of marriage, we had 2 children and financially, things were going downhill really fast. We divorced after 6 years of marriage - it didn't end well.
For the next 4 years, I was a single mother working full-time at Pizza Hut and going to college full-time to become a Registered Nurse. To say times were tough is an understatement!! Even with working and getting a few scholarships, there was no money. I'm ashamed to admit, I had to sign up for food stamps just to feed my children. I lost count of the number of times my electricity or water were cut off!
But those 4 long, hard years paid off and I began working as a full-time Registered Nurse, making more money than I ever thought possible ($10 an hour - this was 1987). I was also remarried to a wonderful man who treated me and my children like queens! Now we had money and I didn't know how to act.
Unfortunately, during the next 15 years, I had a tendency to spend more money than I should - after all, I was getting paid well and I continued to get pay increases every year. I wasn't as frugal with my money as I should have been, but I guess we all learn lessons the hard way.
After almost 20 years as a Registered Nurse, and after raising 3 children, my hubby allowed me to retire from my job. The stress and anxiety from working in the medical field were taking a toll on my mind and body. I was thankful not to have to work in the high stress environment any longer.
I am starting my 4th year away from nursing. I work part-time as a church secretary and I am very happy. We no longer have any disposable income, but that's okay - I don't have the desire to "keep up with the Jones" like I did. My hubby and I are healthy and happy and that makes us rich beyond our means. I'm looking forward to many more years of retired living.