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


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