On Next Question: Do You Consider Yourself Middle Class?

I never understand how to rank myself. Household income is deceptive. As someone mentioned above, $100k for a single person is very different than $100k for a two person household or a four person household. We need some sensible division here. Something like, $66k for single, $100k for two, $150k for four. I don't know how precisely to divide that up, but we aren't being precise. That said, I made an abrupt jump from living on $40k alone to living on $100k with my fiance. Even with my $50k student loan debt, I intuitively consider my jump from middle class to upper-middle. I think part of the perception lies in the large scale economy. If my income went down in the recession, I might feel like I dropped a rung in class status. But because "middle class" is defined in relative terms, if my income dropped proportionately to everyone else's, my class hasn't actually changed. Then there's the difference between our parents' lifestyles and our own. If we grew up in a family where dad worked and supported the whole family on a blue collar income and we considered that middle class, our current status feels weird when we struggle to support just ourselves in a white collar job with a college education. We also forget that we only experienced our parents' income a little later into their careers than where we started our own (i.e. we didn't notice class until we were ~13, but at that point our parents' were mid-career, so when we seem to drop a rung as soon as we move out, that's just because we are entry-level). And then, assets. If I lost my job, but have a plush retirement account and paid off house, how does that compare to someone with a current $100k income with a mortgage and student loans? I've yet to see an article that really even tries to address that.

Posted on May 12, 2015 at 11:05 am 0

On Who's Taking Care of Your Baby?

@vanderlyn So so complicated, all this. I used to think: no biological children for me, no way no how. For me, I fear passing on my crippling depression. Also a complication from depression: I can either take medication while pregnant and risk side effects on a baby or I can stop taking medication and risk the depression (Mine is really bad. I promised my boyfriend and my cats I won't kill myself, but I tried to come off medication once to see if I could do without and I was hospitalized within a month.). Those are some big big reasons. There is the selfishness aspect of biological children when there are children who need parents. There is the bit of anti-natalism (http://theviewfromhell.blogspot.com/ talks about this a lot: who am I to force someone into being when they might not want that? Particularly relevant when considering the possibility of mental illness and believing that suicide can be rational.) But now I have a boyfriend. It is no longer entirely up to me. I now see the appeal in wanting little people who combine our respective traits. Still, as a couple we do lean toward adoption because the desire for biological children doesn't match the risk of passing on depression. Any risk is too much for me to handle because the stakes are so high. All of the difficulties of adoption named also enter into the calculation. It isn't raising a child with mental illness that I fear, it is creating one, creating a person possibly destined to suffer. While I believe I am better equipped to care for a child with certain sorts of mental illness, I have unconventional attitudes and beliefs about it. I believe those are more nuanced, intelligent, and reasoned than prevailing attitudes among professionals, but that doesn't matter if an agency disagrees. Would that disqualify me? Would I be justified and/or capable in lying about that to an agency? Though I believe my position to be better reasoned, who am I to be that arbiter? The system for adoption and fostering of children without safe families is fraught and imperfect, but I do not think that is a reason to avoid it. They are there to fulfill a desperate need and they are doing the best they can, which is better than nothing. Sorry for the novel. Thinking about this in conversation helps me add to my overall position on the matter. Add nuance, decide things that must be decided in order to act, imperfect as those decisions must be, etc.

Posted on October 2, 2014 at 10:26 am 0

On Life After Art School: Interview With a Bookbinder

@nell For your lusting pleasure: http://www.nbss.edu/education/programs/violin-making-and-repair/index.aspx . I lust over the bookbinding program, but it is fiscally impossible for me.

Posted on September 25, 2014 at 11:03 am 0

On Life After Art School: Interview With a Bookbinder

Yess! This is what I am doing, more or less. Book conservation is a weird field and currently doesn't have a good established route in, but people say I'm on the right track and that's the best I can do.

Posted on September 25, 2014 at 11:02 am 0

On Ask A Human Who Actually Practices GTD ('Getting Things Done')

Oh man! I've been going on an app-auditioning bender, again, for this. I break GTD in that I like to put tasks that are not events on my calendar. Like: Look, there is x spare time on Monday, I will put A and B there. I really really prefer being able to put those on a calendar so that when I'm not thinking about all of everything I need to do in the world, I can just look at that one calendar square and know what to do. Most of my GTD is for my personal life and there are very few proper calendar events. So it is finding an app that can do the behemoth GTD action list, show it on a calendar, and have object lists (like groceries). All in one! I want it all in one! Or at least the first two. I have an iPhone and have been using CalenGoo, which isn't perfect. I'm considering/researching: OmniFocus, Extreme Agenda, Action Agenda. Do you (anyone) have a preferred app?

Posted on July 23, 2014 at 5:27 pm 0

On How to Cold Email a Complete Stranger

@ledamarritz I'm always very conscious that they owe me nothing and say so in my emails. Like, "Even if you can't do this, that's okay and thanks for reading this." Maybe that means I'm less likely to get the response I want, but that is how I deal with the discomfort of cold emailing.

Posted on July 21, 2014 at 1:04 pm 0

On How to Cold Email a Complete Stranger

@chickpeas akimbo Double super thanks! Now this isn't just conjecture but we've heard from an actual cold-email-ee!

Posted on July 21, 2014 at 1:03 pm 0

On The Billfold Book Club: Suze Orman's 'The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke'

@Glen Raphael@facebook I live alone in a two bedroom, but I could not just "clear out" that room. It is full! It is my studio. I am a bookbinder. Part of why I live alone is that I would feel guilty with roommates, taking over the whole apartment with my collection of objects, all of which I use. (I tend toward minimalism and keep evaluating my stuff. I want to have less stuff, but I use all of it. All those bookbinding and craft supplies. All those random old books are for repair practice, etc.) But! I'm moving in with my boyfriend soon, my boyfriend who also has a lot of stuff, and rent will go down a little ($152.50/month).

Posted on June 26, 2014 at 12:47 pm 0

On The Billfold Book Club: Suze Orman's 'The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke'

@Beans I had a roommate who did this, sort of. She went on ridiculous Target shopping sprees. (Always Target, only Target.) As the end of the month, if she didn't have enough money to make rent, she went to Target to return things and began the cycle again. She wasn't a clothes-horse, but she had hundreds of pairs of underwear; nothing special, just average cotton underwear.

Posted on June 26, 2014 at 12:40 pm 0

On Defining 'Rich'

As a single person making $40K, I was going to say $100K would be rich. $293K is an unimaginable number to me. $100K means buying what I want pretty much whenever, paying down debt much quicker, and saving more for retirement. I have no idea what $293K means.

Posted on June 17, 2014 at 9:48 am 0