I have an uncomfortable relationship with wealth. While I’m proud of the accomplishments my husband and I have reached I don’t want anyone else to know how much money we’ve actually accumulated. I don’t like people, (outside of this blog), to know that I own a beach house and another property that we plan to build a house on one day.
I recently joined a book club and on the way to my first meeting I grabbed the key to my new Toyota Highlander and then contemplated exchanging it for the key to my ’99 Camry. I ended up driving the Highlander, because it was a bit nippy out and I knew the Highlander would heat up a lot faster, but the very fact that I considered trading cars shows just how uncomfortable money makes me.
Society assigns a stigma to those who are wealthy. The rich are often viewed as unsympathetic and uncaring. I suppose at a basic level I don’t want to be associated with either of these characteristics. I don’t want people to think that I’m pompous or conceited. I don’t think more highly of myself because I have money.
I’ve made smart choices with the money I earned, but I also know that being smart in and of itself is a blessing. Living in the United States is a blessing. It certainly didn’t hurt to marry a man who is both smart and hard working. Not everyone is afforded the same opportunities that I have been given and given those opportunities not everyone would learn how to grow and build from them.
I’m not sure when I began to think of money in such a negative light. My grandmother often complains that rich people aren’t compassionate. She tells stories of family members who hoarded their money while she and her parents were suffering through the depression. Perhaps after all of these years her words echo in the back of my head.
My parents did not have a lot of money when I was growing up. Though we certainly lived quite comfortably in a small three bedroom rancher, we knew at times that cash was not abundant. My mom stayed home to raise my brother and I, but she drove a car with a duct taped hood and spent little money on herself. We were probably on par with our neighbors. Give or take a little they probably held similar balances in their bank accounts.
Perhaps at the most basic level my uncomfortable feelings have less to do with money and more to do with fitting in. When I drove off to my first b0ok club meeting I wanted to feel just like everyone else. I didn’t want to be perceived as the ‘girl who has money’ and I didn’t want the fact that I have money to change the way anyone thought about me.
Photo Credit: Basim