You’ve got to know
When to hold ’em,
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away,
Know when to run.
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done.
I have spent the last two days with a stomach ache as I attempt to deal with a growing sense of uncertainty about my decision to move to this area. Yes, there are some interesting opportunities coming in the next couple of years because of the Spaceport. Yes, property values are significantly lower out here than on the east coast and I feel strongly that I need to buy property in the next five to ten years as a financial investment. In the meantime, rents are generally lower here than back east as well. Yes, there is lots more quiet and space out here than there was in NYC. Yes, parts of this state are amazing and beautiful and the people are friendly.
If I had money to invest, to buy a house or land or if I had some source of income that didn’t depend on my geographical location I would be feeling a whole lot better about being here. I, however, don’t have either of those things and, if not for a loan of money from my parents two weeks ago, I would be living off of credit cards until I got a job and then, when I do get a job, we are looking at between $7.50 – $10 as the likely hourly income. I don’t see that as being able to help me deal with my debt and work toward owning property. The money I owe to credit cards and student loans doesn’t decrease because I live in an area where pay is low.
But hey, you say, you wanted to start making a living off your own skills and as an independent contractor/consultant/tutor right? Sure, but success in that depends on being part of–or at least having access to–people making making upper-middle class wages. Three years ago, the estimated median household income was just over $29,000 (which was, of course, down almost a $1000 dollars from figures gathered in 2000). Additionally, on the trip out here I came up with a really strong and and potentially highly rewarding idea for my own consulting business that revolves around theatre and management training; it is an idea that would use a variety of my skills and that would,in five or ten years, provide me the means to get out from under my debt and buy property. I have no doubts about this idea – it might be hard at first, because every new business struggles, and I am aware that nothing is guaranteed in life, but I completely believe in my ability to make this business work and that it could generate money, good money. However, to do so, I would need the proper infrastructure: one that provides access to corporate/business culture, a pool of theatre practitioners and a concentration of people with disposable incomes, as well as my own network of contacts and friends. There is really only one place that meets those criteria: Providence, RI.
My interest in the T or C/Las Cruces area is not misplaced. I do wonder if my acting on this interest is . . . mis-timed. Was I so desperate to get out of NYC, out of the noise and away from the crowds that I simply did not take realistic stock of my resources? I’m so sick of being poor, of just getting by, of having no security of my own beyond a generous and loving family.
When it comes right down to it, I need to answer a couple of basic questions about how I want to live, about who I am and what I most want to accomplish. Saying that you are running off to the desert to be a writer sounds romantic and adventurous. You know what, it is romantic and adventurous if you are 20 or have money.
Or am I just being negative because this is all new and strange and I’m feeling alone and worried and a bit scared? Am I simply reacting to the fact that I’ve moved to a new place and should I be more positive because I have an interview tomorrow with the local food coop for a job. Hey, you say, that’s good, right? Technically, yes. It’s very good because I need income. Emotionally? Well, I’m looking at taking a job as a cashier in a store while staring 40 years old in the face.
I’m not ok with that.
Soon, maybe next week, maybe next month but soon, I need to decide what to do with the hand I’ve dealt myself. Whatever I choose, I then have to accept fully as my choice, committing both to the moment and the repercussions of that moment. I keep telling myself that there is no shame in holding, folding, walking away or even running as long as you do it for the right reasons.