Why is our relationship with money so complicated? Money is one of those giant whirlpools of unease in my life: it’s a messy thing to talk about and it’s a hard thing to keep hold of. But I constantly find myself asking my self why. Why is my relationship to money more complicated than my relationships to failed loves or my on-again, off-again tango with dating apps?
For the first time in my life, I am full-time employed. Working at a startup that salary isn’t the world’s shiniest object nor will it pay for a new car while covering my student loans in a bow. It is enough, though, to be comfortable. And then I question why I sometimes feel so uncomfortable for a few reasons:
- Uncomfortable from spending the money and feeling guilty about swiping my card (and then gnawing at my fingernails when I think I don’t have enough for rent).
- Uncomfortable from saving the money because I don’t have a clear cut plan for it
- Uncomfortable from telling myself that I want to be comfortable when it comes to my financial picture
That last one seems the root of it all for me at this current moment. I want to be comfortable and not seize up when I think my card is going to be declined – I know we’ve all been there. I want to feel as though I can get my passport and go on a random trip to Spain because I can. I want to be comfortable saying I want the wealth to make myself comfortable.
Wealthy carries a loaded connotation to it as well, and so there I freeze up. I don’t want to admit that I want money to do things because I worry about the backlash that may come after. “Rachel, you make good money at your job. Why would you need more?” and “Rachel, where is all of the money going that you make now? Stop spending and start saving for your future.”
Yet why are those two separate paths: why must I stop spending in the present to start saving for the future? So often, it seems as though those are the clearcut options we have: living it up in the here and now and wasting away when you have to work until your 90 because you screwed over a retirement plan or living very neutrally and simply so that you can retire by 60 and go live on a house in the Cape which you purchased for yourself a few years prior.
Let me very clearly say that I don’t want to be rich or wealthy for the sake of it nor do I want money to throw around. I want money that will allow for myself to be comfortable spending in the present and making the most of each day while saving for the future and building a life I only imagined in my dreams. I don’t think that makes me a bad person. I think that makes me someone who wants to thrive in the world, live out her dreams, be uncomfortable and not in the aforementioned way. But the I-just-packed-my-bags-and-oh-there’s-an-airport uncomfortable (flight anxiety is a bitch, bythe way).
It is that attitude I strive for, but it is still complicated. I wonder what people will say reading this or hearing me say the dirty words “darn-it I want it all.” Abundance seems a topic and a state that people quickly scoff at. My hopes for abundance are to live an abundant life, and that life is painted with experiences and emotions some/most/money that will cost some sort of amount. The old saying goes something like the world runs on money. Do I wish it was different? Absolutely. Do I think that saying is incorrect? Nope.
Money would allow myself and others the ability to experience and also bring those experiences to other people. Money, wealth, desire – these don’t have to be ugly words. These can be states of living that create beauty, and I really want to get to the point in my life where I can be comfortable saying that out loud.
Why is my relationship with money so complicated? Because I want it. Because I am not great about planning with it. Because I am afraid to say it.
This seems a start though.
*work inspired whilst reading You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero