This post about feeling like a burden was originally published on 7/7/2010, about two years after I got married. It was also published right in the middle of a global financial crisis. Things were very difficult then, as they are now.
At the end of the day, I just hope to be included and recognized as someone who is an important part of the family. However, more than 11 years later, there continues to be examples of exclusion. We recognize now that it is because my wife may be on the spectrum as to why we have difficulty communicating sometimes.
Some thoughts from 1Q2020. I'm going through some mixed emotions now because I've had trouble breathing since January 2019 when I came down with a month-long cold. Then I came down with a three-month cold from Dec 1 – Feb 28. Now I'm struggling to breathe fully again due to allergies, potentially a virus, and my age.
Thankfully, I'm much wealthier and feel incredibly blessed to have two children and my wife. However, having asthma, allergies, and whatever else is going is so disappointing and I'm struggling with anxiety because our wealth is getting hit, but our costs have gone drastically higher with fourth and fifth trimester care. It doesn't feel good to feel so unaligned.
Feeling Like A Burden Is A Terrible, Terrible Thing
My nose plugs up and I can hardly breathe when I'm around cats too long. I don't know why I'm allergic, I just am. One time I stayed over a friend's place with three cats, and I woke up with red hives. It was a surprise that I was able to fall asleep at all, because I could have sworn I sneezed over 100 times until the underside of my nose bled.
One of my best friends invited me over to visit her childhood home this fall. Her mother lives near Boston, and unlucky for me another downside of East Coast living is the enormous pollen count. I remember countless days when I couldn't go to work because my allergies were so bad. Ever since moving out West, my reactions have been much tamer. The San Francisco Bay acts as a natural filter, sucking out stagnant air to sea.
In addition to being out East, my friend's mother also has a couple of dogs and cats! She sees this trip as a fun homecoming to introduce me to where she grew up.
To me, I have no attachment there and it's like going to a gas chamber for vacation. Imagine only being able to breathe through your two front teeth. That's how I feel sometimes when allergies attack.
You can't get enough oxygen, so you aren't able to speak. You lose energy and let sleep take over even though it's in the middle of the day.
The Quiet Plea For Understanding
When I asked my friend if it was OK to ask her mother if she could put the two cats in the basement during our visit, she paused.
Sensing her objection, I offered up a solution of putting the two cats in the basement only at night, and let them out during the day when we go out and explore.
Fine, at which point I felt thoroughly disappointed.
I'll just go get a hotel room for $100 bucks a night I tell her, which is absolutely silly because there are two perfectly empty bedrooms at her mother's house.
There was no compromise with my friend.
She mentioned that one of the cats would object and start meowing and clawing at the door if she was left down in the basement. Oh really? That's too bad. It's not like a dungeon down there.
I'm well aware of East Coast homes where many of them have fantastic basements filled with TVs, furniture, beds, and wet bars. A thousand square feet of living space for a cat is like 10,000 square feet of living space for a human.
Nope, she doesn't think it's a good idea and is hesitant to ask her mom, who so happens to be very nice.
I'm sad, because when she comes over to my parent's house, there's nothing we won't do to accommodate. For example, my parent's house has a crazy neighbor on one side. The neighbor often talks out loud to herself and busts out in song. Her dog barks incessantly, and we are forced to hang out on the other side of the house sometimes.
One visit, I found my friend sleeping on the sofa in the living room due to the noise, and that bothered me. It bothered me so much that I went with my father to see if we could get some airtight, double paned windows so she wouldn't have to wake up in the middle of the night.
Isn't that a thoughtful gesture? I'm thinking of the future. We're going to get those installed, I promise.
I'll Try Harder To Not Be A Burden
If I was mega rich, I wouldn't feel so bad about my friend choosing her cats over me. I would say “no problem” to $100/night motel rooms, and would probably want to stay at $300 a night resorts where I could be pampered with room service, a spa, fine dining and other amenities. But, no, I'm not mega rich. I work on a loose budget and like to save money where I can.
So here is another reminder as to why I seek financial freedom. I don't want to get my feelings hurt if I have to be compared against someone or a fuzzy animal.
I gave her a couple chances to see if she could accommodate, and she just stayed silent. I don't want to be sad or angry at my friend for putting her in a tough decision. I know she loves her cats dearly, but some would say that we are in love too.
Send me to the Four Seasons and let me spend large sums of money for a hotel room even if a cozy room is available for free.
I'm sorry for being a burden to you and your cats dear friend.
It'd be nice to discover medication and fancy, non Darth Vader-like contraptions that can help alleviate my allergies, but nothing seems to work.
For now I'm no better than a cat, which is enough motivation to write this post and work harder at achieving my financial goals.
Related: The Courage To Be Disliked
Reader Questions Regarding Feeling Like A Burden
Readers, what are some of the things that frustrates you or makes you sad, which could be alleviated by having lots of money? What would you do in my situation? Would you still bother going?
Maybe I'll just go up to Tahoe and do some soul searching. She's a lovely person and perhaps I have to just change my expectations.
Subscribe to the Financial Samurai newsletter by clicking here. I've been writing about real life and financial independence since 2009. Feeling like a burden is terrible. I hope none of us feel this way with our loved ones.
Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”