Did You Know? Some people believe “if I make more money, I can be competitive and win the race,” When money is the top priority for a person, and they lose it – because of a layoff, for instance – their self-worth shrinks. (“They mix up net worth with self-worth.”) They suffer significantly because money is the only thing that matters, instead of another person who places greater value in family and is passionate about other things.
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Lets talk MONEY, shall we? Delicious, rich, spectacular money.
Money is the driver of pretty much everything. You need it to survive, to pay the bills, to have a roof over your head. You also need it to fund activities in order to keep you sane from your full time job that’s paying those bills.
I’ve always dreamt of people with indispensable money – what it looks & feels like to go anywhere & do anything without a worry in the world. Eat wherever you want, drive whatever you want, pay for your family/friends vacations, payback the people you once had to borrow from, go to any doctor you want, get a nice face mask.
However, this post isn’t about wanting money, it’s about appreciating what we have.
Abroad, all I wanted was fucking money. I was SOOO broke. I wasn’t able to work right away because the Visa permit for my job was taking longer than I expected & when you breathe in Dubai you spend $500/breath, so there’s that. Any money I could get my hands on disappeared before I had a chance to look at it. And, I didn’t even know how to borrow money from anyone at home. Thank God I didn’t know how to open a credit card! So, I had to ask favors from people in Dubai that I barely knew at that point. I felt like I lost all my power & confidence. (Enter: Shingles) Not exaggerating, I counted every. single. cent. (or dirham in that case). Until finally, I started working & feeling like myself again.
But, when Wafiq & I moved back to the U.S. from Dubai, with only our savings accounts, we were back to feeling like we had nothing. Of course we had our savings but with no income those numbers start shrinking fast, not to mention the unexpected cost of immigration lawyers & the fees associated with their services. Back to NO FREAKING MONEY! (Very familiar feeling.) At times, it was sickening & scary. But the curve ball here is, all the moments we shared together where we felt alive! The hustle of life right under our feet & only possibility ahead. Not yet in a full time corporate job that was holding us back, only imagination & a blank slate ahead. It was a mix of feeling like we’re the biggest fucking losers on Earth that can barely eat, to free spirits with the entire world & all of its opportunities spread out in front of us. In a cage, but free.
Well, we’re not that broke anymore.
But, because I know the feeling & I don’t doubt that it could happen again… I wanted to write about being broke. It fucking sucks baaaaad. But so does having money. Money sucks. I’ve been friends with people that have had a lot of money their entire lives, and always will. With money comes greed & stubbornness. Your surroundings appear cloudy. What’s real & what isn’t. Who needs a favor & who wants one.
I’ve also been friends with people that once received a lot of money after living without it for most of their lives. Even this scenario can turn ugly. Money changes people. Takes away the depth of conversations, turns the topics into competition. Proving themselves & their worth.
Looking back, not having money was a grind that I’m happy I did my best to appreciate. I had beautifully authentic conversations & met some of the most genuine people in those times. I had nothing more to offer than my friendship & a night in playing cards w/$3 bottles of wine, drinking it out of a plastic coffee cup. (PS. I was out of college, this was no longer acceptable.) I connected with people that valued life & friendship more than the depth of each other’s pockets.
When Wafiq & I had no money we wouldn’t go out very often because we simply couldn’t afford it. But it was so easy to say that: “we can’t afford going out because we don’t currently have a job… or money.” HA! Now? We have to say yes to a steak dinner and taste our wine with a seal of approval before we purchase the glass. Once upon a time, we used to get very creative with dates. The park or beach with a picnic meal & cheap wine. Cheese plates with a movie in the background & cards on the table. Driving around brainstorming ideas of companies to apply for or career paths to get involved in.
My point is, the grass is not always greener on the other side. And I think the solution is to be grateful for what you currently have & to be thoughtful of the people around you. Whether you have money now or you don’t, be thoughtful & appreciate where you’re at. Listen, create good conversations about weird things. Also, get out of your own demographic a little. For me, that helped understand money a lot better. When you become friends with people that truly have NO money and people that truly have an abundance of money, you’ll learn a lot.
I love the idea of simply being thoughtful. It takes slowing down & being vulnerable, but that’s better than leading with insecurities. Go out today & be thoughtful while you take on the world & work work work work work! You got this, whatever amount is in your pocket is enough for today!