I was an enterprising child. My father would pay me a quarter for every grocery bag of pine cones I gathered from our yard full of evergreens. I opened a bank in my bedroom after learning from my mother how banks made money from interest. My mother would borrow $20 and I charged a penny on the dollar. I wrapped flower petals I found on the ground in fabric scraps from my mother’s sewing room and sold them to the neighbor’s as potpourri. And I saved most of everything I earned along with my weekly allowance of a dollar a week. Adults had money and that equaled freedom to live where they wanted and be who they wanted to be. Money made adults independent.

When I graduated with my first masters I used the money I had saved to move across the country to San Francisco. I moved without a job, naively confidant I could find one – a naiveté the still intact dot-com economy indulged. I was lucky until I wasn’t. The economy fell apart and I got laid off. I carefully spent as little as possible. I temped, I waitressed, and though I may have been unemployed from the kind of job I wanted, I was still independent.

Now I have a job and the income I would have wanted. I have responsibilities that the 20-something me would have been impressed with. As my husband and I look to buy our first home, assess our finances, and plan for our future I recognize my dependency on what I’ve built. And that the plan will only work as long as I give up some independence.