Thursday, April 23, 2015

Living Below the Line

Psyching Myself Up to Live on $1.50/Day

I have often joked about things being a "first world problem." But over the last six months or so, I've found myself often assessing a situation using that very criteria. Having worked with the public most of my adult life, I've been afforded the opportunity to listen to my share of complaints and whining. And there have been times when I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying, "Do you understand how privileged you really are?" I have to remind myself of this, too, when I fall into the complaining trap -- when I whine because I'm frustrated with my cell phone and vow to get the one I really want next time; when I grumble because I live too far out of town for takeout deliveries; when I roll my eyes and grit my teeth because my internet connection is slow. 

First world problems. 

There have been times in my life where my family has lived paycheck-to-paycheck and that paycheck hasn't stretched quite far enough. We "robbed Peter to pay Paul" and did without any of the extras just so that we could buy groceries. Thankfully, we never fell below that extreme poverty line and we have recovered to a place where we are comfortable now. Perhaps that's why this campaign resonates so much with me -- because when I was at my lowest, when anxiety and worry kept me from sleeping at night -- it was the hopelessness that weighed on me the most. I never saw a light at the end of the tunnel. I want to help those who suffer from extreme poverty see the light at the end of the tunnel. I want to help give them hope that someday things will get better. I want them to know that someone cares. 

What is Live Below the Line? It's a campaign to fight extreme poverty worldwide. By agreeing to eat and drink on $1.50/day for five days, you help bring awareness to the ravages of extreme poverty and those who suffer because of it. There were several charities to partner with, and I have chosen to partner with UNICEF, a long-standing and well-known organization devoted to bringing relief to children and their families by providing food, vitamins, vaccines, clean water, educational materials and disaster relief.

I'm not going to lie ... next week is going to be difficult. I've already started planning out my menu and I've made a basic shopping list. I'm lucky that I live close to a bent-n-dent grocery store where I can purchase foodstuffs for cheap so my $7.50 will stretch just a bit further. Items are hit-or-miss there, so I have no idea what I'll find when I go shopping but I'm looking forward to that challenge, too. I know my week will end up being very carb-heavy, which is not something I'm used to, but I already know I'm getting fresh eggs for $1.00/dozen, which is fabulous, and a pound bag of frozen mixed vegetables for $0.99. Ramen is only $0.15 each and I can get a couple of bananas for $0.39/lb there. Cans of beans are $0.40 each. Rice can be had for less than a dollar. Oh, and a loaf of bread ... I may hit the regular grocery store day-old shelf for that, if they have any. 

So, having preached about first world problems, (sorry about that, by the way) will I keep my smartphone and my internet? Of course I will. And next week will be a tangible reminder of what's important and where my priorities should lie.

Want to donate and help me fight extreme poverty? Please visit my LBTL page HERE.

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