DIARY of a 99%-er: The Struggle Between Survival and Creative Expression

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April 27

Every day, every moment, every second, there is choice. If it were not so, we would not be individuals.” – Ernest Holmes

So how did I get to be one of the 99%? Because of my chosen profession. I grew up in an upper-middle class family on the East Coast, a family in which both parents were not only the first to go to college, but attended Ivy League colleges and graduated Summa Cum Laude. This is why they inculcated my sister and me from Day One with the zealousness of a patriot that going to college was not a choice, it was a requirement. And that an Ivy League college could get us much farther in the world than any other college. So, my sister and I applied to some Ivy Leagues and, lo and behold, we both got in. How that happened I will never know. So, I ended up going to Dartmouth and my sister to Brown. We both did the work-study thing because Mom and Dad made barely enough to send us to these venerable institutions, so thanks again M&D!

Because writing was my passion from early childhood, I decided to become a journalist. I always assumed that with each passing year, each promotion and each new job, I’d receive more money and more stability. So, I never looked too far into the future, trying to take a more go-with-the-flow approach. In the beginning of my career, that worked like a charm, but with the Internet, which no one envisioned when I was in college, coupled with the Great Recession, the journalism field floundered like a beached whale, with newspapers either being consolidated, going online only or becoming altogether extinct, like the sad fate of the Rocky Mountain News in 2009. I never worked in high-tech – the upside is I was not affected by the dot-com bubble bursting in the early days of the new millennium; the downside – I never received one stock option that I could cash out to become a gazillionaire.

So, while my parents went on to achieve as much wealth as you can working for others – through my dad’s job as a manager for a large insurance company– I have never been able to even come close to their wealth or ever consider buying property of my own, after growing up in a mansion. Luckily, the material side of wealth has never been that important to me. I’ve been content with roommates and tiny one-bedroom apartments and my trusty Chevy Malibu.

So, to finish up this explanation. As each year passes, I definitely crave financial stability and with this recession, that craving is firmly colliding with my innate urge toward inquiry and self-expression, the two predominant factors that inspired me to become a journalist in the first place.

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