Plenty of home videos circa 1994 (and many other years) reveal a young Erin dancing around the living room. But one particular video shows me in a white dress playing pretend with a doll. No, I wasn’t dreaming about a wedding. I was reenacting a scene from The Nutcracker Ballet. I’d flit and twirl around the room, dramatically thrusting the nutcracker doll into the air and then clutching him to my chest, just like Marie.
This dramatic behavior came from watching the movie version of the New York City Ballet performing The Nutcracker.
Needless to say, going to The Nutcracker ballet has been on my bucket list for quite some time now.
This is my third Christmas in New York and each year I’m never quite sure whether or not it will be my last. New York is one of the greatest cities in the world, but it’s also a struggle to survive when you’re on the bottom end of the pay scale. After a year of living hand-to-mouth when I first moved here, I still have that mentality ingrained in my head. Even though I make far more now than I did when I first moved here in 2011, it’s hard for me to A) pass up opportunities to earn extra cash and B) spend my money on non-essentials.
This brings me to a cross-roads.
I work a lot in order to have the money to live in New York. I also don’t get to enjoy New York, because I work so much.
This Christmas season, I’ve made the executive decision to stop focusing so much on the financials and take in the splendor of living here.
After exploring several avenues to find a discount, I finally decided to hell with it and bought full-price tickets to The Nutcracker.
Ladies and Gentleman, it was worth every penny of the $99 I spent.
Not only did I fulfill a childhood dream, but I knocked two things off my NYC bucket list (see a show at Lincoln Center and see the New York City Ballet).
Later this week, Peach and I will be going to see Wicked. We deliberated the merits of trying to do the lottery or buying cheaper seats. In the end we decided to gift each other good seats to the musical and spent $130 each.
That brings me to a total of $229 spent on show tickets in one week during one of the most expensive times of the year (hello, Christmas presents).
Instead of worrying about pinching in other areas to compensate or denying myself going out with friends to save a few dollars, I’m giving myself these gifts. Sure, I may dip a little bit into my savings this month to cover the difference. But it’s okay. It’s okay that I’m loosening my purse strings. I live in one of the greatest cities in the world and this Christmas I am going to take complete advantage of that fact.
For all the penny pinching I (and many others) preach, I’m here to also tell you to give yourself permission to partake in priceless experiences. Life shouldn’t be about always denying yourself in the present just to focus on your future.