I saw it in a tweet. An invitation to experience poverty, even if it is only in a simulation online.
I took it. The challenge. I clicked on SPENT, an online simulation of living life in the poverty zone.
There’s no way to win at life, get ahead, to make the ‘ethical’ choice when the decisions you have to make always come back down to — will I have enough money to pay the rent, buy food to feed my children, pay their school fees, pay insurance.
At one point in the game, while driving my children to school, I hit an icy patch and my car slid into a parked car causing damage. I had a choice. Stop. Try to find the owner. Leave a note. Get the kids to school and be late for work. OR. Leave the scene and hope no one saw me. Except my kids of course. They were watching from the back seat. Tracking every move I took. Learning from every decision I made.
Sure, in real life, I wouldn’t drive away. I would be accountable.
But in real life, I have more than $326 left in the bank to take me to the end of the month 20 long days away. I earn more than $9.00 an hour.
In real life, I have resources.
In SPENT, I lasted 11 days before I hit bottom. I wonder what happened to my kids?
What about you? Can you win at poverty?
You can find out for yourself by taking the test, playing the game of poverty called SPENT.
It was part of my making a difference yesterday. To do something to stretch myself out of my comfort zone, to experience something beyond my frame of reference and then to share my experience. Yesterday, after playing SPENT, I tweeted on my experience. Today I’m writing about it. And I’m looking at ways to get involved in reducing poverty in Alberta.
The other part of making a difference was to meet my once a week commitment to not drive my car and not spend money for a day (at least not real money). Ellie, the wonder pooch, had to settle for a walk in the neighbourhood and I spent time focussing on things I needed to do around the house. I did some tasks that have needed doing for quite sometime. I have a sparkling clean office and a stack of packages and cards to mail out.
Taking care of myself makes a difference in my world. Taking care of tasks that have been lingering around, waiting for me to ‘get to them’, makes a difference in my attitude, my outlook and my energy. And with my attitude all sparkling clean and refreshed today, I’m ready to take on the world outside my window. I’m ready to get busy making a difference.