♪…yubby, dibby, dibby, dibby-dibby-dibby-dibby-dum! ♪
God, I love Tevye. Such a great character. 🙂
I was thinking about the other day about how my perception of money has changed. When I was a child, I thought $100 meant I was rich! But, of course, I did. I had no expenses, debts, or worries. I was flush with cash! 😉
Then as I grew up & into my teens, I learned $100 was equivalent to 20 hours of work. Or around 10 gallons of gas. Or maybe 2-3 pairs of dance shoes. My perspective shifted to what I could relate with. That $100 had a name on it. I wasn’t “loaded” anymore.
As I entered college, $100 became a textbook, maybe two. It was 1/4 of my rent & probably my groceries for the month. That $100 become vital to me. I no longer could waste it on some random toy when I was a little girl & I didn’t have my parents to bail me out like I did when I was a teen. I was on my own & I would hold onto it for dear life.
As I continued into my early 20s when I was beyond broke, my attitude towards money shifted towards a downward spiral. I had a lot of depressive episodes over it &, like Tevye, wondered what the hell was going on. I was doing everything I knew to do but still failing. It wasn’t for years until I realized what was really going on. Instead of staying on a straight & narrow path (like staying on budget), I plowed through a thicket full of thorns & thistles (alliteration bonus! Ha!). You will eventually get to your destination but it’ll take longer & be more painful in the process. Again, I didn’t realize this at the time.
Even now at 34, I’m recognizing unhealthy patterns I made during those rough times in order to survive. I can see how I charged $5 to McDonald’s because I needed to eat. So I was eating shit & spending shit I didn’t have. Do you see the problem? It’s like shooting myself twice in the foot but blaming the gun. Obviously, it didn’t take too long for this to catch up to me. I had gained a lot of weight & was completely broke.
The good news is that I see it now. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I still eat shit I shouldn’t but I don’t as much. I am actively working on “rewiring” my mind to make good, healthy choices. There’s still a part of me that is trying to rebel so, yes, I do fail but not as much as I used to.
And I’ve really cut back on my spending. It’s hard for me now to buy myself anything “just because.” Even during my birthday & the holidays, I tend to ask for money so I can put it to good use. When I receive a gift, I feel like I have to reciprocate. But we’ll cover that issue later. 😉
My point is I’m learning to redefine my relationship with money. It’s just a tool. It’s not the “end-all, be-all” or whatever. It’s not love. It’s not happiness. It’s just a method of moving forward in life but it isn’t life itself. Being broke taught me more about materialism & minimalism than when I had money. It taught me how people treat you differently when you have it or you don’t. And it taught me that love & acceptance are more important than a vault full of money.
Funny how that works. 🙂