How I’m staying happy while broke

by Elliot Lyons 

Last week, I looked at my bank account and it read -175.27. The number was red.

It made everything in me sink. I transferred money from my business account, funds I need to pay taxes at the end of the month, to survive. After the transfer, that account was almost at zero.

I have money on the way but it might not be on time.

This all coming at a time when I’m busier than I’ve been in years: weekdays are spent coming home from a temporary gig to do freelance editing, some translation work, and banging out content for this site. And then there’s the research for a PhD proposal and thinking of a topic to write for my column, which isn’t and will never be a paid assignment, in Vegan Magazine that’s due in two weeks.

Although writing for the magazine and researching for a PhD don’t result in a payday, they pay off in another way: they, along with writing for this site and a few other things that don’t pay money, give me hope, engage sides of me that I want to develop, and replenish all the energy that being broke drains.

These things are my answer to me whispering “I’m so tired” on the verge of tears when I feel cornered by the struggle to stay above water.

They give me life, and I use them to re-charge.

Remembering how these things make me feel, I opened up my bank accounts the other day and something different happened. I still didn’t like what I saw, but the way I felt about the numbers turned from helplessness to frustration.

It was hard to stomach being so broke and so productive; I could almost taste how it would feel to not live like this because I knew everything was within reach but just outside my grasp.

But there was hope in where I spent my time, and that felt good and put a smile on my face. 

A smile that keeps me filled while my bank accounts are empty.










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