Today I was listening to the audio book, You Are A Badass, by Jen Sincero (highly recommend). The topic covered in my short little drive was money…. specifically, our relationship with it.
Money and I don’t have the best relationship. It’s a lot better than my wife’s relationship with it (which is pretty much non-existent) and I would say it might even be better than a few of my actual real-life relationships (sorry cousins)…but it’s still not good. I don’t fear money. I don’t think it’s dirty or evil (unlike some of those cousins). I don’t think I need a ton of it to survive, but I wouldn’t turn down a cool mill suddenly popping into my bank account (though my account might go into shock if it ever saw a comma). No, what our relationship is really lacking is a support system. There’s no “I got your back, you got mine”. There’s no faith that either one of us is going to be where the other thinks we are or should be. We don’t talk a lot. We’ve grown apart.
Jen suggested writing a letter to money to help pinpoint our thoughts, so….
First off, thank you. Thank you for always managing to be enough…even when it’s just so barely enough that God hears from me more than normal in those last few days before the auto-deposit. Thank you for the big things like that awesome trip to Universal Studios last year and the little things like the cookie I just ate. I don’t say it enough, but I appreciate the fact that somehow you keep showing up despite all my efforts to send you away.
Now, for the real reason I’m writing. We have a problem. Although I am grateful for you, I do not treat you with the respect you deserve. I take for granted that you will always be there when I need you and, in those times when you can’t, I take for granted that your relatives (my parents’ money) will step in in your absence. I have a tendency to think everything will work itself out. The sad thing is, I don’t really want it to JUST work out, I want it to thrive. I want every day to be a trip to Universal WITH cookies. I want to pay ALL of my own bills without aid. I want the freedom to say YES and not have you tell me NO. I want a lot, but I don’t deserve it. At least not until I change the way I treat you.
You need to be nurtured, cared for, watched over. I know this about you and yet I ignore you. Part of me believes I don’t have it in me to care for you the way I need to. It’s easier to be in the hole because it’s familiar and I know how to live here. I don’t have to worry about taking care of you if I don’t have you to take care of. This isn’t a healthy relationship we have. You give and I take. I don’t give you a chance to rest or make friends. I send you right back out the door as fast as you walked in.
I blame a lot of it on my wife. It’s not fair, but I do. She refuses to look at you. She blames you for most of our troubles. She pretends you’re not there, but has no problem using you when she needs you. It’s not fair to you. It’s not fair to me. I have to be the bad guy who tells her no. She blames me, I blame you and the downward spiral continues, leaving all of our relationships in turmoil. But I enable it as much as I despise it. I know I’m the one who needs to step up and fill the role as your caretaker. I’m the one who needs to say, “If we want this ___, we have to do that ___” and have a plan in place. It scares me. Can I stick to the plan? Can she stick to the plan? If she doesn’t, is it worth the argument? I mean, it’s not SO bad being broke.
Listen to me. I’m justifying living a life smaller than we were intended just to avoid some “possible” conflict. At least that conflict would be met on the way TO something vs the result of NOT having something. It couldn’t be more obvious that things need to change. I want them to change. You and I need a better understanding of one another. I need to respect you and put you to work for me. I’ve been working for you far too long.
Hope to see you again soon.