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Horses, a ski hill, and a spa were areas I was free to roam that wasn’t weighed down by cost concerns. My father managed a resort property and his perks trickled down to his family where I greedily drank fancy meals, tubing a golf course in winter, and limitless massages.

It was the golden era of luxury and it wouldn’t last.

My childhood was prime-cut country for upper class but when I began adulthood, the lux life fell to middle class.

Upper middle class consists of people with advanced educational degrees and occupied in white collar jobs or self-controlled professions. Such people not only have above average personal income and educational qualification but enjoy a greater degree of autonomy in the workplace.

Max Weber, renowned sociologist

If it wasn’t for veteran benefits, I would be classified as working poor with wages that have yet to crest $30,000 a year.

Hotel to Motel

It took some time to adjust to motels. In my youth, the hotels were fancy where room service was a phone call away.

Since then, I am more familiar with motels and eagerly anticipate the free breakfast.

Even staying in motels is uncommon. Commonly, Mr. BuLL and I bypass the hotel, motel, and go straight to camping in the boonies.

My happy place is lacking in humans, has a semi-flat spot for a tent, and is far from TV, WIFI, and Grande Huckleberry Mocha Chocolate lattes.

Stripping away the modern-day drama and obligations creates a quiet void in the typical stream of mental musings. My brain becomes overloaded with sparkling scenery, pine-laced oxygen, and tiny furry mammals that chatter like a jackhammer. When everything modern is stripped away, emotions swirl between the hollow of vulnerability to the swell of life’s richness.

Complex feelings that never surfaced in a fancy hotel or mediocre motel!

$500 Dining to $50 Dinner

Deep in the recesses of my childhood, there is a memory of a talented chef who made a dessert look like sushi. The California roll, tuna sashimi, and chopsticks were all made of chocolate.

How did he know all I wanted was chocolate?!

As a child, I ate the tasty treats with an abandon that only a tiny human can. As an adult, I wonder how much that cost more than how it tasted.

Nowadays, dinners and desserts have less creativity and chocolate (unfortunately). Of the few times Mr. BuLL and I venture to the outside world, we tend to frequent restaurants that have quality food for a reasonable cost.

Having someone else cook and clean is pleasant but the high cost is what makes it unsavory.

Splurge to Purge

As with any youth unburdened by bills, loans, and interest rates, splurging was an easy pastime. I rarely looked at price tags. My unuttered motto was, why worry about money when there is more where that came from!

Turns out, life is expensive once I started paying for it.

Many moons ago I was interviewed for a Sailor of the Day award. I remember being thrilled by the nomination. With the award, I had to respond to a few questions that gave a snapshot into my personality. I answered quickly until I landed on hobbies.

I didn’t have many.

As I wrote a few generic responses, I thought about adding shopping to the interests list. It was true, but I was afraid that would change my newly acquired respect into something shallow and sad. After a brief battle of good versus evil, I decided to let the rebel flag fly and wrote down shopping as a hobby.

Now, when I see that clipping proudly hanging on my parent’s wall, I cringe at my listed hobbies.

My pastime is vastly different but that changed gradually over time after trial, error, and try again.

Now, hobby and lifestyle speed is all about thrift. The initial lessons were tough but with time, they became easier to remember. Housing is cheaper with help of roommates, food is affordable when homemade, and passive income is the best income. Simple lessons that take effort and time to craft default responses and actions.

Expectation to Perspiration

The younger years were all about using minimum effort to get what I wanted. No need to exert my brain because even if grades are average, I’ll still graduate.

Life has a way of turning statements into punch lines.

With massive dreams came massive change. Everything changed from what I did and said to how I lived and viewed the world.

I grew up in a green land of easy expectations and ended up in the desert of perspiration.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was hard going from easy to reality but that other girl was someone who didn’t appreciate what she had, didn’t understand the value of hard work, and didn’t say nearly enough thank yous.

The older girl is grateful, hardworking, and resilient to the hazardous shopping malls that seem to crop up out of nowhere.

In the end, I am grateful for the fall from upper to middle class. I have a few scrapes, bruises, and scars but the person I am today is wiser, happier, and a slightly more wrinkled version of what happens when one human falls from upper class to middle.

What is your class act? Do you think this story is as common as squirrels stealing food from the bird feeder or as odd as a bear stealing the bird feeder?

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