I never had a real concept of money until around the age 7. Recalling the years up until then, I think about the free gifts we got from early 90's welfare and a Mr. Bubbles I got one year from a charity donor with no batteries, so I never saw the dog walk. That dog with no batteries has always stuck with me.
We moved to my step-dad's house in 1992. He had a gooseberry bush by the driveway and an elderly couple that lived next door across from the bush. I don't remember the exact conversation, but I know that one day Mr. Tapscott told me if I brought him a bowl of those berries he'd give me a dollar. That was my first lick..
A neighborhood friend introduced me to the approach of knocking on neighbor's doors and asking to do chores, as simple as task as picking up the sticks and two pieces of trash on the sidewalk. 50 cents or a dollar at a time could add up back then. I picked up a basketball card habit around that time, seeing them as valuable, and the summer time when I was 10 I made a solid $40 off the font porch of the house. Over the years I would work with my uncle in his car shop in southeast Oklahoma for summer work, I had a lawn service one summer, and finally, found myself in a Piggly Wiggly grocery store at 16.
From there I would do a summer time stint at a pig farm to prepare money for my first son, sudden news I received the day after I graduated high school. In October of 2004 I left for the Navy. I worked part time jobs most of the time I was active duty, because I never lost a desire for money, but I lost my entrepreneurial spirit during those years,
When I came to Kansas City in 2009 it all came back to me. I was paying child support to the state on my son, I wanted to be free in my free time after living a military lifestyle, and the bills were real. Photography has paid a lot of my bills over the last 8 years along with supplements from student loans and part time kitchen jobs. As I write this blog, I'm a pizza man for a local chain and making money comparable to the peak of my military check, but with a much better benefits and "liberty" call status.
While I've grown an arts production brand by working for clients, I've stifled some of my creative priorities along the way. These first years have been important in preparing for my next. Giving much less time to clients (and being much more selective) and giving more time to pizza, I'm in the beginning of self-funding a lot of my own travels, ideas, and production.
No matter what path you choose, be it college or a trade school, the military or the food service industry, you're in the game. The game I'm referencing is the monetization and taxation of all things you will need to survive. When you slip up and cross the laws, you'll get "taxed" on top. The cost of basic living is one thing, while the tentacles of taxes is another.
I grew up playing board games. Life, Monopoly, Hotels..I find it quite ironic, that a lot of what we are taking on as adults now was learned on a piece of pressed cardboard spread across our dining room table on any given evening or summer day.
I won't bother to politic about the players, the modes, or the methods we can take. I'd rather just leave you with the question(s).
How are you going to suit up and play.. is it checkers or chess.. or, if it's chess, what piece would you be?