Good Reading, Reader Input

Victor: Keeping up with the community

Victor is one of my best friends from college (second only to Future Husband although I’ve known Victor longer.) Victor grew up in an affluent suburb of the Twin Cities and continues to be an active community member in his hometown and owns an independent bookstore.

Victor’s sense of poor is influenced by the community around him …

“I think that the definition of “poor” depends on one’s own relationship with the community around them. I, for example, am also saddled with a giant amount of credit card debt. There are a lot of things that I would like to do (travel, being highest on the list), that I can’t do because I’m writing giant checks each month to credit card companies. Were I not doing that, I could be taking a weekend vacation (a nice one too) to a different locale each month!!!

However, much of this desire comes from the fact that I hear customers at my bookstore talk every single day about great trips they are taking. Just this morning a woman was telling me about her upcoming trip to New Zealand. You know what? If not for my credit card debt, I could be taking that trip!

So in that respect — because I can’t afford the things that others in my community have — I feel poor. It’s a “Keeping up with the Joneses” sort of thing.

However, even with my debt, I don’t feel like I ever can’t get something that I need. If I want to eat out, I can afford to eat out. If I want to buy a book, I can afford to buy a book. I just can’t go crazy.

So perhaps if I did not live in such an affluent area, I would not feel poor. In fact, there are some parts of the western suburbs, even, where I would feel downright wealthy compared to those around me.”

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