It’s Thursday and I’m Crafting my Life! June’s theme is money. Which is hard, but important. This week, I explore my money issues. How can this fail to be riveting?
I am all about security. I like to know what’s going to happen next. I have been in the same relationship since I was 15 years old. I have lived a very conventional life. Maybe it’s because my childhood wasn’t always predictable, and I didn’t always feel secure. Or maybe it’s just who I am. Whatever the reason, I like feeling as if I have a cushion and a fall-back plan at all times.
This need for security plays out in my approach to money. I love nothing more than putting my money in the bank and looking at a nice, healthy account balance. Sure, new shoes are nice and vacations are lovely, but they can’t compare to the security of knowing that I have a healthy emergency fund. I like having my bases covered against eventualities both known and unknown.
Money is one big reason that I loved being an engineer. I was a professional, and I was paid like one. My salary was ample to meet my needs and many of my wants. It allowed me to sock money away for a rainy day. Whether the rainy day happened or not didn’t really matter. Whether I had any fun or not didn’t really matter. That wasn’t the point.
Then I was laid off, and I decided to switch my life around. I decided that maybe I could take my severance and those savings I’d been racking up, and do something with them. Take a chance, and find a different kind of freedom. This new freedom would rely less on my savings account, and more on my passion. It would be less about securing myself against disaster, and more about embracing the moment. The possibilities made me almost giddy.
Unfortunately, I haven’t found it that easy to shed my compulsive need for security. Over decades I created a very well-constructed image of myself based around my financial responsibility. I always Do The Right Thing. I don’t buy things I can’t afford. I pay my bills in full and on time. I have an excellent credit score. These aspects of my personal story are very important to my image of myself, and it’s not easy to let go of them.
Since I left the corporate world my self-image has taken a hit. I don’t get that paycheque deposited into my bank account every other week. My bank account is not as full as it once was. My picture of myself as being Super Responsible With Money is starting to fall apart. Let me be clear – I know where my grocery money is coming from. But on the other hand, if a meteor fell on my house I might not have enough socked away to spend 6 months in a hotel during re-building. And I don’t get as much joy out of trolling my savings and seeing the pretty, pretty numbers.
In spite of my personal discomfort, I do believe that passion is more important than security. Even if my self-worth is struggling. Passion doesn’t lend itself as well to planning, and there are no guarantees. So the best that I can do, now, is keep my eyes on my goal. Remind myself why I’m doing this and find security in other things. Things like the people around me.
People are the most important thing. We support each other, we work together, and we share dreams and goals. I think that this is where true happiness and security is found. So I am working out some of my money issues. I am recognizing that money is just a tool. My self-worth and happiness aren’t related to how much I have or don’t have. I don’t have to look for security in a number. At least, this is what I tell myself. Slowly, slowly I am starting to believe it.
How does your feeling of self-worth and security relate to your bank account balance? And how does your relationship with money factor into your own story of yourself? Please share!
June’s Crafting my Life series is about money. On the last Thursday of the month, which just happens to be the 24th, I will include a link up. To participate, write a post on this month’s theme anytime in June, or track down a post you’ve written on the subject sometime in the past, and add yourself to the list. Then read everyone else’s ideas and thoughts and be inspired! Check out the link-ups from January, February and March to get a feel for how it works.