Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Money, money, money

There are two songs that come to mind when the word money comes up for me.  The first is ABBA's "Money, Money, Money" and the second is "How much is enough?".

I am pretty sure that is not unique to me but putting it to music might be.  Music is never far from my mind and it is background in my head for most of the things that mean something to me.  Before you wonder I do not mean I hear music and not understand that it is a conscious addition to the emotion I am feeling - meds not needed (yet).

Recently was texting with my friend who is reading a book about the relationship we have to and with money.   As a woman of 50, as a woman period, money and I have a relationship.  It has not always been a healthy one and yet it was also an empowering one as a woman.  It is now becoming a side note as a means to the end that it should be for me. 

I do not understand the whole "you don't need money" line.  Usually uttered by those who do not need money, because anyone who has ever struggled with it knows you do need it.  I am not sure how those "you don't need money" folks pay their bills, manage their basic needs without it, hence my sarcastic cynicism when I hear it.  They often "do not need it" because someone has always made sure they get it if they do.  

We revere it, we make it evil, we want it, we hate that others have it, we blame those who don't and on a personal level it makes multiple parts of our lives possible. 

Interestingly enough it is money, or your lifestyle as currency, that is often quoted as the root of all evil. That's some power we ascribe to it.  For me money is not the root of all evil, or evil.  It is power and money used in conjunction with small minded meanness that makes it from a means to ruthlessness.

As we get older we hope we have enough to not be a burden during the part of our lives where we no longer are working.  We wish to be independent, to be able to help our children as much as we can so they too learn to think about money without wondering how much is enough and switch to thinking how much do I want to be as (insert career choice here).

As a parent I have always taught my kids, so far, that money is not infinite, nor easily replaceable while also giving them not only things but experiences.  I spend my money when I can on vacations with them, I have not replaced expensive electronics because they lost or broke them until they could save up some contribution to the replacement or fix.  I want them to know that it may be only  $5 but that $5 is part of a bigger pot of money that we use to give them the things they have.    I am not sure yet how well I am doing since they are quite young.  

The harder part is something I needed to teach myself.  You cannot fill a void with money, you can pretty it up, you can cover it in lovely things but you cannot fill a void.  It is easier to do it with buying things but it is like the little boy holding the finger in the dam.  If something is not fulfilling I am now looking for what that is and then looking to see how I can appreciate myself enough to know I deserve that void filled.   

Money doesn't buy happiness but it does make things happier to not have to worry about how to pay your bills.  If we have extra maybe we pay it back to others without having to forgo our entire share. It is ok to want and have the higher end things in life but maybe we can take a page from the minimalists and stop before we have more of those things that we can ever use.   I want to have money to continue to travel, to eat at great places, to buy my artist supplies (and boy are they pricey), to write on the gadget of the future and yes to have some things I really do not need but just want.  I do not rely on money for the contentment that I will find enjoying a walk on the beach, time spent with those who care for me and I for them, laughter, passion and all those other experiences that I plan on keeping priorities. 

Money, money, money we can manage it but it should not manage us.  

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