“Do you ever feel you’ve become the worst version of yourself?”

Yesterday I realized that I have started doing something I have always found really annoying in other people. You know how you have a conversation with someone and you talk about doing something (let’s just say going out to eat) and they say, “We can’t afford that, sorry.” It’s so awkward. And uncomfortable. How are you supposed to respond? Should you offer to pay for them? What if you can’t afford to do that? Then what? Why do you suddenly feel so guilty?

I always said that if I was in that situation I would say we couldn’t do it without bringing up the money situation. Because it makes people uncomfortable. Now that Mike and I are suddenly destitute (that was an exaggeration for humorous effect), I realize that I have started doing that myself. Congratulations on those strong convictions, Kari.

What I didn’t realize is how intensely the money situation weighs on one’s mind. It affects my decision to drink water instead of Diet Coke (not a bad decision, but that’s not really the point). It affects my decision to bring my lunch instead of going out to eat. It affects my decision to make a cup of hot chocolate from the mix in my desk instead of buying a cup of coffee. (I also think about food a lot, in case you can’t tell.) Our finances are the reason I am so upset about the flat tire and the reason I haven’t been sleeping so well the past two weeks.

So, now that the shoe is on the other foot and all that, I feel that I should publicly apologize for having been critical of how anyone handled having to say no for financial reasons. I was insensitive to the stress that money causes, and that was wrong. And, if I’ve irritated anyone with my constant financial prattle, I am sorry. I am trying to work on it.

Today, though, I just feel like the worst version of myself.

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