My sister's son is getting married this summer. The invitation is sitting atop my fridge. The family lives in Ontario. I want to attend, but the cost is prohibitive, nay, impossible for me to even consider. Saying 'no' to the invite while retaining my pride has been difficult. The excitement of thinking about meeting with my family, the bride's family and all those invited has slowly dissipated, leaving me feeling blue. And broke.
It serves to remind me that travel for pleasure is out. As is most entertainment.
I enjoy going to local theatre productions and listening to live music in my community.
To do these things, I make trades. I offer to put up posters, sell tickets, make coffee, set up chairs, run 'front of house' activities, then to help clean up when the show is over. This can only happen if I know someone involved.
The same is true of furthering my education or indulging in personal endeavours. I swap housecleaning for singing lessons. Have taken on secretarial/organizational duties for a nonprofit society, in return for attending their professional conferences; and do gardening for bedding plants so I may enjoy fresh flowers throughout the warm seasons. I barter with a friend who grows organic vegetables. This lessens the cost of buying from the Old Farmer's Market or grocery store.
Occasionally, I am interested in certain entertainment advertised in the local paper which states that entry is "by donation." I assume that means if I don't have anything to offer, be it money or a tin of something for the food bank; I will still be allowed to enjoy what is presented. When I show up, I find someone sitting at the entrance suggesting that the 'donation' be $5 - $20. A burning shame overcomes me when I tell them I have nothing to give, that I thought 'donation' meant, even if I have nothing, I would be welcome. As this has happened on a number of occasions, I have become wary of approaching such events in my community.
The constant juggling of priorities wears me down. I become morose, refuse to leave the house, retire behind the pages of a book and become disinclined to visit with good friends. The daily grind begets depression, even for a positive-thinking person like myself.