I can’t believe how much money has become a part of my life.

Now, that’s a strange statement, and it needs clarification, since money is a part of everyone’s life here in the 21st c. US — money or lack thereof.

Growing up poor white trash meant that money, as in the lack thereof, dominated my life. Being one of the “have nots” threaded so essentially through the fabric of everything I did that I can still smell poverty today, even as a “have.” Poverty smells like someone else’s old clothes; like dirty rags used to stop up gasoline tanks on junk pickup trucks, and sour, threadbare towels.

Here’s the strangest part. Today, I balance my finances using Microsoft Money, I have a financial advisor, and we are contemplating refinancing our mortgage, which we shouldn’t do until we have A) determined the tax consequences, B) spoken to the financial advisor, and C) reviewed our accounts on Microsoft Money. I have money in savings for the first time in my life, meaning my own savings, not my couple savings.

I’m strikingly proud of this fact. Saving money is an adult skill, and one I never learned. It goes along with eating three squares a day, sleeping eight hours a day, doing your homework, and showing up for work on time.

It’s a curious and uncomfortable thing, this having.

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