Greenback Gratitude

This morning I texted my husband in frustration, “All the treadmills here are so shitty–they are all either broken or shaky, or the belt skips…it SUCKS!” The “here” I was referring to was my gym, the crappy New York Sports Club about a half a mile from our apartment. It’s been my gym for about three years now, ever since we moved into our home. Our relocation offered me three different realistic options for my indoor fitness:

  1. A no-frills facility with a crappy layout that’s not maintained very well and has about 75% of what I’d like it to have. This is NYSC. Despite it’s faults it’s only $30/month and located just under a ten minute walk from our place.
  2. A Planet Fitness–that is actually much better equipped, cleaner, and well maintained than the NYSC, all at the insanely affordable price of $22/month. Seems like a no brainer, but this gym is just over a 15 minute walk away. While those few extra minutes each way may not seem like a big deal–they are precious to me, especially on those weekday mornings. Having my gym closer to home means I can go ahead and run that extra mile, or complete another circuit of strength training and still make it to work on time. It also makes the trudge to get there during the crappy weather conditions of winter, a lot more doable.
  3. Option #3 is what I call the “having it all” option. Equinox. There is a gorgeous, insanely clean, immaculately maintained fitness facility with all the space and equipment I could ever want just a 4-5 minute walk from my apartment. What’s even more, the walk is downhill! I could literally get out of bed and roll myself onto the treadmill. It’s so perfect. Although by now you may have perhaps guessed the reason why I have not selected this option: it’s available to me for the budget busting price of $180/month. Yeah. Six times what I’m paying for my crappy but sufficient NYSC membership. Honestly, if Equinox was $100/month, I would think it was a little too pricey, but I would probably pay it. I worked in gyms for several years of my life and have a great appreciation for them when they are well equipped and well maintained. I know the value in that and it’s something I long for as someone who lists fitness as a top priority in her life. Still, $1800 more a year for the gym? Yeah, I can’t do it. That’s so much money!

I’ve made my decision, and as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been living with it for three years now. My rant to my hubs this morning is not uncommon though. My rather regular bitch sessions about my gym are more often than not provoked by a similar situation to this morning’s: loads of free treadmills but something wrong with almost all of them. The fifth one I tried was the charm today and after I finished my 6 mile tempo run and followed it up with a good stretch on the dusty mats by the window, I decided I needed some gratitude in my life. Whenever something annoying or inconvenient in life bothers me a bit too much, I know that I need to be reminded of how fortunate I am. I had a place close to my home where I could workout this morning. I got everything I needed to get done, done. If I wanted to make the decision to have less money in savings at the end of the year–I could have the membership at the expensive gym. I’ve got it good.

As I walked home, I decided my post today needed to be an extension of my recognition of what I’m grateful for. Really, I can’t do these lists enough. They remind me to stay in the day and give me a much truer perspective on my life when little things aren’t exactly the way I wish they were. Since what was bumming me out this morning was my inability to afford the gym that I want, I’ve decided to focus this list on all things financial. The truth is, I’ve come a long way. Before I got sober almost ten years ago I had over $20,000 in bad debt and a terrible credit score. For years now that debt has been gone and that score has skyrocketed. While we are not wealthy by any means, my hubs and I have everything we need. Sometimes when we really want something but it’s out of our reach, we say to each other “someday”. I’m a big believer that the Universe does not give me more unless I take care of what I have. So I’m going to continue to do that and work hard. Who knows? Maybe we will be able to afford the fancy gym someday. Or maybe since this is NYC and they are always developing everywhere, they’ll build a more affordable but nice gym convenient to our apartment. For now, I’m reminding myself how lucky I am and how my more recently learned frugality is paying off:

  • I pay $140 a month already for yoga! Oh yeah, I guess I forgot to mention this before. I think it’s important to be transparent about privilege–and having the ability to afford unlimited yoga every month is exactly that. It’s a lot, but honestly, I pay it happily. No one–at least not in New York City, is getting rich teaching yoga or owning a studio. I’ve actually been privy to some numbers–they are a bit depressing due to the exorbitant amount landlords are able to charge for rent. As many of you know, I went through the experience of my longtime studio closing in October of last year. It was heartbreaking. I am very grateful for the vibrant community I am a part of now and feel glad I can afford to support it every month in return for invaluable instruction and incredible support of my practice.
  • I almost never think about the price of food. Everyone has their thing. I love food. It’s one of the most important things in my life–both in terms of my health and my happiness. I’m a conscientious shopper, so I’m never going to spend more if I don’t need to. But I have no problem paying more for quality, and I’ve never regretted shelling out a little more of my paycheck for a delicious and transportive dining experience. My hubs and I don’t own a car, we use public transportation. We don’t buy fancy clothes–we really only spend on items we need (admittedly style is not a huge priority!). We don’t fill our home with knickknacks or items that don’t serve any real function. We also don’t upgrade all our devices every time a new piece of technology comes out–we aim to make things last. Because we’re mindful and conservative on our spending on all these other things, we can be free with our expenditures on food. I have a deep appreciation for the fact that I’ve never had to worry about where my next nutritious and delicious meal is coming from.
  • This year we will travel to Europe for the fourth year in a row. When I was drinking, I never went anywhere. Any money I ever earned burned a hole in my pocket. If it didn’t go to booze it went to something else that I didn’t need, wasn’t good for me, and offered only temporary nourishment or satisfaction. Travel to me is the opposite of that. It’s an investment. The memories keep giving to you years and years after you’ve stepped off the plane. Being able to have the adventures we have now is an unbelievable dream come true. I don’t think there’s ever a day while we’re traveling–whether foreign or domestic–that we don’t recognize how lucky we are and give thanks for our good fortune to be able to experience different cultures up close and in person.
  • My time off is coming up! In just a couple months I will enter my very favorite part of the year–hiatus! Working in television and film, I’m admittedly envious of everyone with “real” jobs who get paid time off. We don’t! Period. We are freelancers so if we don’t work, we don’t get paid. It was a lot to get used to when I first started in this business. I panicked every time a job ended. Now that I’ve been at it for a while, I’ve gotten better at saving and also confident enough in my skills that I don’t worry about being unemployed for long. I’ve been lucky to have a string of a little over three years now where I’ve known what my next job is when the current one ends. This time is no different. While we are done shooting in just a week and a half, I’ll stay on to wrap up until the end of May. Then I’ll have June and most of July off and come back for the next season after our trip to the U.K. I can’t believe my luck this year that my hiatus will land in the gorgeous summer months. Being off in the dead of winter is not nearly as invigorating, and usually involves far too much Netflix. I’m ecstatic to have time for long mornings at the gym, afternoons of yoga, and date nights that can linger as they will. I’m gonna write, and go to museums, and take in movies in the middle of the day. I absolutely cannot wait. While it would be nice to have paid time off like all the normies–I don’t think I could ever go back to working 12 months out of the year. I’ve grown accustomed to the lifestyle. I love it, and I’m insanely grateful that I get to live it!

 

Tell me, what are you grateful for? Financial or otherwise? Happy Sunday all!! x

 

header cred: though catalog

45 thoughts on “Greenback Gratitude

  1. Hi Cat – I am always reading about writing a gratitude journal or list – but as a bit of a repressed Scot – struggled with just how to do it ( most likely in secret). I love your list and the things you are grateful for – most of all the hiatus. I am a freelancer now – and it can be hard to see the positives in flexible working when it feels so insecure – but if I can get better at planning when earning – I can certainly embrace the time off.
    M
    PS – I came across your blog when you were marathon training – since then I have been a bit of a rubbish blogger and rubbish blog follower – all this to change.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey M, so glad to hear from you–I have been a bit of a rubbish blog follower lately as well so definitely relate!
      When it comes to gratitude–I often think of the most basic things. I feel like when I am in a good spiritual place, I realize the “smaller” things like having good food and a nice place to live are really HUGE.
      Working as a freelancer can be really tough in the beginning–terrifying actually! I had so much fear for the first few years–always worried about the next gig and how I was going to make everything work. Then–after a while I realized that everything always worked out somehow. And I thought ok, I’m either going to keep going with this work and TRUST, that things will continue to work out–or I need to find something more stable, cause it’s not fun living in that fear and craziness! Getting better at managing my money has helped so much. Really glad to be able to look forward to the time off! You will get the hang of it for sure, just takes a bit of practice. Like everything, right?
      Again, good to hear from you! x

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  2. I used to be a member of a gym, but then I started running outside and also commuting to work on my bicycle, and yes the weather is crappy sometimes, but I am grateful I’ve found a way to fit exercise into my life for free. And there is a gym about a five minute walk from me that I can pay for a class if I am dying for some body pump, or RPM.

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    1. That is so great you can bike to work. I am not a strong enough biker to not be intimidated by the weather and traffic!
      And yeah, running outside is great! I was just sort of over it this winter though–so for me, the treadmill + strength training has worked well. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, glad to have you here!

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  3. Wow, yeah, $180 a month for a gym is insane. I belonged to NYSC in 2003-2004 and paid around $70 a month, so $30 is a steal! Sucks that it’s not better maintained, though. The one I went to was at 633 Third Avenue (right below my then-job) and in pretty good shape. I think it’s wise to invest in things like food and travel! I have never had money to travel until now (for which I am grateful), and this year I really want to go to Iceland. By myself. 🙂

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    1. Ok, yeah, that is crazy right? I am not the only one who thinks that is crazy? Good!
      I know $30 is a steal– I am pretty sure it’s only my location that has that deal because it is so shitty, LOL.
      Definitely go to Iceland, I hear it’s amazing! We were trying to work it into this trip this year but we couldn’t work it out airline-wise (wanted to use Iceland air for their deal but also had some Delta vouchers we had to use before they expired). We usually do a few different places when we travel further but Iceland flights can be so affordable, I am hoping we can just do a week there or something sometime soon!

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  4. I’m grateful that I never have to go to a gym 🙂 I’m quite sure that some regular gym time (along with yoga and/or pilates) would do wonders for my running but after realizing that all I ever did at the gym was to run on the treadmill and wish I was outside…

    Other than that I’m grateful that I married well, have healthy and happy children and that even though money is often tight we never really want for anything fundamental.

    Life isn’t easy…but it isn’t bad 🙂

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    1. Free as a bird without that gym–I see you Nik!

      I love and relate to what you have said about marrying well. I was just saying something about this to my hubs yesterday. Him and i are different in some ways, but I feel like we are really on the same page on the big important things–how we feel about money, how we eat/take care of ourselves, how we feel about travel–there are just a lot of things that I think would be tough to not agree on!

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  5. I have a similar dilemma with workout space going on. While I am unhappy with the choice of 3 elliptical machines, with only 1 that I like (precore) and the other 2 really old and very squeaky, the $35 a month is worth the supportive comrade I get there. I am however desperately looking for a Yoga Studio, and THAT is the tough part. So, you have got me beat on that end. Your gym sounds like the Yoga studios I have thus far tried. I love your decision to focus on gratitude and you are right, we all need to have more of this in our moments. Thanks for the reminder. I am grateful for your post today! Among many other wonderful things in my life. And BTW…congrats on your sobriety. That is no small feat! ❤

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    1. I see I am not the only one dealing with imperfect gyms, lol! I love that everyone has their stories–it’s kind of adjusted my expectations a bit, which is good for me!
      I hope you find a yoga studio you like and are comfortable at. Do you do a specific type of yoga or all different kinds? I feel like i got really lucky with my studio–was not expecting to be so happy there after my home studio in my neighborhood shut down, but it really has been a wonderful thing!
      And thanks for the congrats on the sobriety–on days when I struggle with everything else, I can almost always manage to be grateful for that!

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      1. Im so glad you get it. I was thinking I was being too judgmental. 😛 But I think a gym or studio can make or break our workout/training/practice. We have to be one with our bodies, but if we are struggling to find that pace on an elliptical or treadmill because the equipment doesn’t work, or the energy of a yoga studio is somehow negative in any way, it’s a distraction and makes it hard to give that 100 percent. If I ever win the lotto Im going to own an amazing gym with a beautiful yoga studio and let people come for free!!! 😄

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  6. Good post, Cat gratitude helps with perspective. Remembering why we make the choices we do. I also like that we periodically review them and decide if they are still the ones we want to make.
    I value my time and flexibility a lot, and so really appreciate being able to work part time self employed. Also really grateful that when I had the higher paying doctor gig, I lived well below my means, which is why
    I have the freedom and flexibility I do have. House and 12 year old car paid for, I can travel and live my life at a less hectic pace. So fortunate and grateful. Old enough for the senior membership at the rec center, which lets me do gyrotonics on the side.
    Thanks for the reflective reminder!

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    1. I’ve really tried to focus on living below my means in the past year or so. I realized that I wanted to have more to show for making more than I needed! I’d also really love to do what you are doing in a few years–perhaps grind more now so I can relax more later!

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  7. What $30 for NYSC?!!! Were you grandfather(mother)ed in? I feel you on half-assed gym equipment. If I’m paying all of this money at Crunch, there should not be issues with the cardio machines. I have not really experienced too many instances with broken machines at my regular Crunch gyms. That said, I have been annoyed with the sizes of the freaking locker rooms.

    I am grateful for having a job that I really love and work for folks who are not sketchy. There is another issue with my previous job . . . Ugh. Although I will not be filthy rich doing what I do, I really like the difference that I (hopefully) will make.

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    1. LOL, Kwame, Believe it or not, my membership just went UP the past year, it used to be $21.95!!! I just waltzed in when they had some sort of deal going on–but I am quite sure it’s only for my shitty location–it’s seriously the shittiest one that exists!! There is one like another 10 minute walk away that’s so much nicer, bums me out!

      I am grateful that you love your job and have good bosses–that’s awesome! Not everyone gets that for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. OIC, I remember signing up to NYSC when I moved to the city (back in 2002) and that mess was 70 bucks . . . WITH our student discounts. I went with a couple of classmates for what I thought was a trip to Haagen Dazs; next thing I know, I ‘m handing over my credit card to the membership representative. Well we did get ice cream after the NYSC trip. 😉

        Funny thing with the old job. I have been waiting for FIVE MONTHS to get my vacation pay out. Last week, I finally received it, and two days ago my old boss sent me an email asking for help with an experiment. He must be on that special crack. Maybe, I’ll respond to the request . . . in five months. I’m sure that he will try to spin it by saying I’m being uncooperative.

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  8. I was thinking along similar lines today. What I have to be grateful for, and really I can’t moan about anything. But this has actually made me feel really guilty today. I listened to a report from a refuge camp and all I could think is ‘How I can help?’. I get this feeling every now and then that I should be doing more. I’m young/ish, physically fit (if suffering from a few twinges), driven, competent, caring. I should be doing more to help those less able! It’s partly why I wanted to join the police, but I found this line too frustrating. So I’ve gone for the army, but your still only a tool sent to where governments think you should go. Do I try to raise awareness of issues by doing silly physical challenges? Or do I start at home and help those who are less able in my own neighbourhood……I worry when my head starts going down this road, because it makes me discontent in what I’m doing and I never reach a satisfying answer. Is the best place to start at home? I always go in about ‘First world problems’ and today I added ‘First world privilege’. We could all do so much more. Xx

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    1. Deb I think you’re going through what most of us do–it’s hard to feel like we are doing enough, especially when there is so much and so many that need helping in the world. I think this is where that one day at a time thinking comes into play yet again. I get overwhelmed and everything feels impossible when I think about how I’m going to save the world. But when I break it down to just that day–and what I am going to do to be of service–whether it’s grabbing milk for my elderly neighbor, or helping out a co-worker with their extra work–I think it all counts and it all makes a difference. I’m not gonna win any awards for my efforts–I’m probably not going to be the most helpful or most giving–but if each day I can feel like I’ve done something, then I at least feel like I’m earning my keep in this world. You will find your way that feels right–I am sure of it. I know how much you have to give!

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  9. Keeping with your financial/work theme I’m grateful for the ability to work from home and have some flexibility in my hours that allows me to coach. I’m grateful that Jason and I make enough to live comfortably but more importantly, are on the same page with our financial views and goals to never fight about money. We treat ourselves from time to time, but are both focused on putting all extra money towards paying off our house within the next year.

    With that said I’m also grateful to have married Jason. We split in August 2014 after about 3 years of being together (and living together nearly that whole time) and it was really rough on both of us. Fortunately we both grew a lot from the experience and after getting back together spring 2015 (then married Dec. 2015) we’ve been great. I think we understand and appreciate each other a lot more now and work as a real team as opposed to fighting so hard to keep our independence. We recognize that there are things about the other one that just won’t change and we’ve learned to cope and improve upon how to handle that. Sometimes I look at him and think how we very well could’ve not ended up back together and I’m sure I wouldn’t be nearly as happy. I do believe though you’ll always end up where you’re meant to be even if you don’t like the path needed to get there.

    Also – that’s awesome you’ve been to Europe and are going again! Jason’s been to a few places from when he was in the military, but I’ve never been. We’re hoping to visit next year but can’t decide… first it was Germany, then Switzerland then Austria and most recently we were talking about Slovenia!

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    1. That’s so awesome that you can work from TN, I think I would like the ability to do that as well (although I don’t mind going into an office sometimes–honestly I think I’d be severely anti-social if I didn’t, lol!). I also have the same appreciation you have your partner– I am so grateful I’m not married to someone who has a problem spending, OR who is a tightwad who can’t live a little sometimes!

      I am glad you and Jason found each other again–I can see how it could be so valuable to have that time part and have that appreciation for each other grow.

      May I suggest…Germany AND Austria if you can! They are both wonderful and quite close to each other! A couple years ago we did a trip where we started in Budapest, then went to Vienna, then Prague, then ended in Berlin. It was AMAZING. So much to see and all those places are very close and accessible to each other. Berlin is my favorite by far. Also LOVED Vienna. Excited for you and anxious to see where you decide to go!

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  10. We pretty much have the same thing going on with the gyms. Monthly to La Fitness is reasonable and close and monthly to the Martial Arts gym we go to for unlimited classes is about what your yoga is and is well worth the money.
    And ‘paid time off’ … that’s really a thing?!? Lol. Commission has been our norm for years with major ups and downs. Great post! : )

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    1. That’s cool about your Martial Arts gym. I love when you find something like that that is totally worth it and you’re also contributing to the community.
      LOL, yes, PTO is really a thing! My hubs has it and it is amazing! We go on vacation and he still gets paychecks–it’s the most bizarre and envy-invoking thing!

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  11. Great post! It’s such a healthy thing to think about our own lives like you did. I sort of did this in my head earlier this week when I was whining about having given up sweets for Lent. I thought, “if that is my biggest problem in life, I have it pretty damn good.”

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  12. We Americans are completely spoiled and I appreciate all that my family and I have. I’ve worked hard to get to the point where I am and paid my way through college, etc., so it’s not like I grew up in a wealthy family. But still, even most of the poor people in the US are far richer than most poor people in many other countries. I’ll get off my soap-box now. ; )

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  13. Part of me wants to be a member at massage green spa so I could receive monthly massages at a discounted price, treat yourself right-style. But! I need to remember that yes I pay $200 for yoga classes every couple months and that’s what I do for myself. I don’t use a gym either so sometimes I think of yoga as my ‘gym membership’.

    I’ve never thought much about the career lifestyle of people in television , let alone how different the lifestyle is when living in NYC and not having a car, etc. Thanks for sharing this perspective!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG! When I was training for the marathon, my hubs got be a 5 pack of massages for the last 5 weeks before (and then I had one after as well) and I seriously started to daydream about having regular massages. I think if I had a drastic increase in income, that is really something I would invest in. It can make such a difference in our bodies! But you’re right, SUCH a luxury.

      Also, glad to share a bit about my lifestyle. I love hearing about how other people in different parts of the country and with different professions live–so interesting, so many differences!

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  14. It all sounds pretty good to me. It’s snowing here today, which means I’m on the treadmill at noon. It’s in the little gym at my office so it’s convenient, but still it’s the treadmill. Or as Saoirse would say, dreadmill.

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    1. No more snow!!! Ugh, we are getting some tomorrow as well. I can’t wait for it to stop.
      I know i love that S calls it that–she’s my fave. I think I’m in like 1% of runners who love the treadmill. Even when it’s nice out I use it for a couple of runs a week!

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  15. Wait, wait, you’re coming to the UK? When? Where?? We have to get all the UK folks from here together and have a run or a coffee or a something, right?

    And I love this post. I am a big fan of counting one’s blessings. I struggled yesterday because it was mother’s day. I don’t have a relationship with my family, my grandmother died in December, I wasn’t able to have children, and I’m no one’s godmother, so it’s a crappy day … but I went for a run with three friends who are all mums but had to get AWAY for a bit, and then I did not cry in the supermarket buying stuff for a meal for one, and then my husband was super-kind when he got back from seeing his own mum and sent me off to bed with a cuppa and my book and kept me company.

    My gym’s manky as hell, by the way – but also around the corner and the yoga teachers there are good. I have the luxury of being able to go in in the daytime so can usually find a machine somewhere that works!

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    1. Hey Liz! Yes! Coming end of June. We will be in London, Liverpool (just for a day) then Edinburgh, Glasgow, then off to a few places in Ireland. Very excited! Not sure exactly where you are (although I feel like I should know that by now!).
      I had a little freak out yesterday because I read on more than one blog that it was Mother’s Day and I was like “shit! how did I miss this?” Then I realized it was all my UK buds! I am sorry it’s such a tough day. Glad your hubs was there to make it a bit better though.

      Lol, manky–that’s why my UK friends are the best–they give me new words! I am glad I’m not the only one. But hey–things could be a lot worse right? People are being bombed and I am bitching about some dust in the corner!

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      1. I’m in Birmingham; I can get down to London very easily in an hour or so on the train, and I’m self-employed so reasonably flexible. I don’t want to pressure you if you don’t have long, though! Email is thelizdexter AT gmail DOT com if you want to drop me a line to let me know if you want to organise anything but I will not be offended if you don’t!

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  16. I’m not i. Televisio. BUt I am self-emplyed. I make very little money but I have always loved what I do. I don’t get paid for holidays and I work year around, usually, this is the first year I closed in Jan and Feb., because it is just too slow. I would not trade my self-employment for a well paying job for anything, unless it was really, really perfect for me.

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