Declaring My Independence, The 2011 Edition

Read the history of my personal declarations of independence here. This year, as in past years, I’ve taken the original text from the Declaration of Independence and modified or paraphrased it to suit my purposes.

There are moments, in the course of human events, when it becomes necessary for a person to dissolve the real and imagined bonds tying them down. In an attempt to recognize and allow for the opinions of others, a person should declare the reasons why they need to break these ties.

Some truths are self-evident: everyone is created equal, and everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We set up governments to secure these rights, and we allow our governments to wield certain powers. But no government can force its citizens to alter or abolish their individual attitudes, beliefs, or ideals. Inasmuch as we have the right to pursue happiness, we also have the right to pursue unhappiness. Experience has shown that humans are more disposed to suffer than to change their core attitudes, beliefs, or ideals. But when a long period of self-sabotage results in nothing but misery, it is our right, it is our duty, to throw off such attitudes and beliefs, and to create new ones that promote our happiness and well-being.

Such has been the case for me, Corinne, and such is now the necessity which requires me to alter my attitude. To prove this, I submit these facts to the World Wide Web.

  • I have spent too much time in the last five years chasing after checks, payments, and promises of money.
  • I have grown anxious and frustrated over money or the lack thereof.
  • I have avoided activities and events I would otherwise enjoy due to my financial anxiety.

Therefore, I, Corinne, solemnly publish and declare, that I am and of right will stop chasing checks; that I am absolved from all allegiance to the almighty dollar, and that all connection between my state of mind and my bank account balance ought to be totally dissolved; and that as a free and independent woman, I have full power to live a prosperous existence without needing to chase checks, and to do all other acts and things which anyone can do.

And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, I pledge to myself and the world my renewed commitment to be my most abundant, prosperous self.

Signed,

Corinne

What are you declaring your independence from this year?

Found Money

This summer I read a blog post on The Simple Dollar that asked the question: What would you do if you found a large amount of cash?

The writer of the post has a straightforward approach to dealing with found cash: if returning the money is fairly simple, he returns it. Makes sense, right?

But just because it’s simple, would you do it? Or would you keep the cash?

I have had several instances when I’ve found money. When I was about 11 or 12, there was a wallet lying on the street in my old neighborhood. My friend Deena and I spotted it as we walked by, and immediately looked for identification. Turned out it belonged to the man who lived in the house directly across from where we were standing – his back pocket had a hole in it and the wallet had slipped right out. No reward for handing it back, which disappointed us a little, but we did the right thing.

A few years later I was at Camden Yards attending an Orioles game with my parents. I was in line at the concession stand and I found $20 lying on the ground in front of me. I assumed it belonged to the couple standing in front of me, so I picked up the bill and asked, “Did you drop this?” The woman shook her head no but the man took it anyway. I was so pissed that he took it, even though he knew it wasn’t his money. (And as you can see I’m still annoyed – blame it on my moral compass.)

Back in 2005 I found $60 on the sidewalk in West L.A. It still strikes me as odd that the money was lying on the sidewalk, right around lunchtime in a busy neighborhood, and yet no one was around at the moment I actually found the money. I picked it up, noted the odd way it was folded, and stuck it in my pocket. Once I returned to my desk I went on Craigslist and posted an item in the Lost & Found section, saying I’d found cash and if the person who lost it could tell me how much it was and how they had folded it, I’d get it back to them. I had a couple of people email me to say my post had restored their faith in humanity, which is sweet, but my motivation was that I knew a lot of low-income folks lived in the area and $60 was probably a considerable amount of money for them. I wanted to give them a chance to get the money back; plus, that damn moral compass of mine didn’t want me to spend it without making a conscious effort to return the money to its owner. After ten days or so, I didn’t hear from anyone, so I used part of the money to do something charitable (I don’t remember what) and part to get something fun for myself (I don’t remember that part, either).

We’re now at a time of year when people are quite possibly wandering around with lots of cash, planning on making a major purchase for themselves or their family or friends. Knowing this, would you be more inclined to find the rightful owner? Or would you keep the money for your own shopping excursions?

What would you do if you found cash?