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  • Late Start Earner

Unwasted Privilege

We just returned from a week at the getaway property. The experience felt somewhat luxurious: it was our first full week at the property, just the two of us. The weather was balmy, reaching the mid 80s during the day while cooling down into the 60s overnight. Since we typically stay at the getaway property for a weekend at most, we previously got by with simply not showering during our time there. The warmer outdoor weather gave us the opportunity to fashioned an outdoor shower using a privacy tent and portable water pump with shower nozzle. We hauled water from our creek, boiled it to purify it, and mixed it with store-bought water as our water supply.

Having a direct, natural water source on our getaway property is a privilege. It supplies us with water to shower, wash dishes, and water our plants and garden. Each day, I would walk downhill about 100 feet to reach the creek, fill it up with a few gallons of water, and haul it up for our use purpose. Most days, I would take several trips. Every time I made the trip, I felt transported in time and space to a lifestyle in which lack of running water is the norm and hauling water in buckets is a daily task. If I filled the bucket too high, it made the trip more difficult, slow, and unpleasant, but then I could make fewer trips up and down the steep path. Smaller bucket sizes were more manageable, but required more trips. No matter the number of trips or the bucket filling size chosen, all of this predicated on having a water source to draw from and monitoring water usage.

Manually obtaining one’s water supply for water usage is not too different from managing one’s personal finances. My current job feels a bit like having a natural water source — I have a steady and reliable source of income, and it doesn’t require me to maintain a side hustle. This is an extreme privilege, and one that I work hard to earn each day. Water usage is analogous to spending, and water conservation with budgeting. I often find myself trying to haul “too large” buckets of water with my finances — either with extreme budgeting in a specific category or trying to set goals that may be too ambitious or unrealistic over a short time period.

At the same time, it is important to keep setting goals and reducing dependency on a W2 job. While I still love my job today and feel like I am in early stages of career progression, things can change that are out of my control, and I always want the power and option to walk away.

I hope to strike a balance between playing a long game to enjoy the experience, like hauling several smaller buckets of water, and making sure that I am not wasting my privilege — a high-earning job that provides me with a flowing water source.

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