10-02-2012, 05:46 PM
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Honestly? I slogged my way through 7 years of graduate school, as did my husband, so we could both get PhDs and enter our fields of choice. Throughout my PhD, I worked part time at a research firm to get my foot in the door, and when I finished grad school, I earned my dream job with that firm. I waited until I was in my 30s and very financially secure to buy my first horse. My husband and I have also decided not to have children because there are other things that we have prioritized in our lives, and we want the flexibility to pursue our passions. For me, that meant finally being able to buy a (cheap, old) horse this summer. For him, it means setting up a woodshop so he can dabble with that on the weekends when he's not teaching (he's a professor).
Growing up, I was about as middle class as one can be- career military dad and nurse mom. I begged and pleaded with every bone in my body for a horse, but I was lucky to get riding lessons for a couple of years because there was no way they were taking on a long-term financial obligation that the couldn't afford by paying cash. I grew up with what, IMO, is a healthy aversion to unnecessary debt, and am grateful to my parents for it.
OP, I've read your other post, and want to be clear that I spent all of my own teaching career working in difficult urban schools, and am very familiar with what a lifeline public assistance can be to families who are struggling. I will go so far as to say I consider myself very politically liberal. But even I can't fathom justifying using public assistance to support a horse, which to me is very much a luxury.