Over the last couple of years, I’ve been putting a lot of effort into restructuring how my brain handles my day to day life. I used to obsess over what would improve my career or make me money or impress others, but now whenever I start to feel anxious I ask myself, “What would make me happiest in this moment?”
Life is too short to spend my time doing things that make me unhappy just because “I should”.
That’s why on Thursday, when I was riding Ezhno with LilyO and TeeqO and thinking about what it would take to get him into the Realm of Flying Changes, I realized just how happy I was spending time with him again after trying to distance myself from him for the past month or so.
For just a moment, I slipped up and let myself ponder the unthinkable: What if I kept him?
In my last relationship, I was the triggerwoman. When I saw something “we” wanted—new couch, new television, new condo—I was the one that dragged us to the store (or the escrow company) and convinced him to go halfsies. It’s a strength and a weakness; I’m decisive, but I can be rash. Recognizing that fault means that whenever I have a big idea, I make it a policy to take time to think before I act.
So I made a list of pros and cons. The side for keeping Ezhno was ridiculously long.
The side for selling him wasn’t short, but all of it could be crammed into one reason: money.
There’s a part of me that still thinks money is king, no matter how hard I try to squash it. It mistakenly believes that my happiness is directly tied to the size of my bank account. I like to think that it’s the same part of me that tears myself down in the saddle until I’m an anxious mess and gives me a mental seizure whenever I’m three strides out from an oxer. That part of myself is like a tumor: dangerous and ever growing, something I wish I could cut out with a scalpel, but instead I’ve been chemoing the hell out of it with “yes I can” and “everything will be fine” and “trust the horse”.
I’m not sure I’m in remission yet, but I’m feeling pretty damn close.
All of that introspection brought me to the legitimate question: Can I afford two horses?
Let’s get real, I don’t make a lot of money. I work part time as a tutor and do a little freelance work (most of it unpaid) on the side. All told, I think I probably make about $17,000 a year. (The Petty Tumor likes to give me a heart attack by comparing that tiny number to the $50,000 a year I used to make in IT back in early 2016, then shame me for choosing to leave that giant salary to find happiness. The Petty Tumor is rotten.)
An $800 a month bill for board is the equivalent to a punch in the gut.
But I can afford it. It would be uncomfortable, but thanks to the generosity of my family I can afford two.
I decided to give myself the weekend to think about it.
Then I went to the SEC for my lesson on Friday and blurted it all out to TrainerM, as I’m wont to do whenever I have a horse related dilemma, and her immediate reaction was, “Do it. You ride more than almost anyone I know and if things change you can always sell him later.”
So, here we are. It’s Monday. I’m here. He’s here. The sun goes up, the sun goes down.