Recently Facebook reminded me of a friend's birthday--a friend I haven't talked to in a while. I was trying to think of the last time I talked to him when I got the notification that it was his birthday.
And then I realized oh, right. The last time we really exchanged any words was when he was borrowing money from me.
A pretty significant amount of money. Like a couple years ago I think. I forgot about it. He never paid me back and never talked about it again.
I am incredibly lucky that I am in a position where I can throw money at people and forget about it and not notice a difference.
A couple other people owe me money right now. I know both of them will pay me back. But I've done this before. I've spent money on people, paid for things for people, or given people money for things listening to them promising me they'll pay me back and not really caring if it's true. Most of the time, unless it's completely understood between the two of us that it is indeed a loan, I don't expect to see it again.
I'm not a rich person, but I'm in a good situation that doesn't seem to be in danger of exploding on me, and if anything it's getting better all the time. I also have safety nets. If I got in trouble, there are several people I could ask to help me. Most of the people I've helped don't have safety nets.
I hope I will continue to be in a position to lend people money and forget that I did. Not only because I don't take being comfortable for granted, but because I'm so grateful to be able to be someone else's safety net without risking my own fastening pins. When I was in college and poor all the time I told myself I'd be a charity contributor and always be there for my friends if they needed someone to bail them out, and I'm pleased to find that I did become that person. I know it's not just the result of my choices. It's luck and it's privilege, and only some of it is what I've earned.
But I'm not going to waste it.