People don’t talk about how much money they have in this country. I wrote the following essay on money for a class I’m taking. I hope it’s not too much or too little information.
I don’t remember money concerning my family growing up. Sometimes we had more or less, but I don’t think anyone called us spoiled when we did well. I don’t think we felt hopeless when our block got free welfare food from the government for any child (bologna on white bread with bright yellow mustard). I don’t remember us feeling particularly rich or poor or wondering where our next meal would come from. Nor did I feel we had anything we didn’t earn. We had some feeling of sour grapes toward the money people who had a lot more had, but I don’t remember it being a big deal.
I don’t remember fights about money between parents, even after the divorce when they had joint custody. As kids we probably wanted bigger allowances, but I don’t remember major issues.
Today I consider money something to manage to keep my home, have enough to eat, and so on. I’ve chosen to work less to cover little more than food, shelter, insurance, student loans, and a few utilities in order to have free time. I’ve lived off the earnings of working one or two days a week for the past five years, drawing a bit on savings. I make three hundred days of weekend a year possible by knowing my priorities, not wasting resources on non-priorities, managing my expenses, developing social skills to have a great social circle, enjoying hobbies that don’t cost much, piggy-backing travel with work, and so on. Since I consider my financial situation as secure as anyone else’s, I consider money taken care of.
I have friends with net worths in the hundred millions to billions and friends whose material possessions fit in one carry-on bag. I like them for the emotions we share, which money doesn’t concern. Since I know few people who don’t wish they had a bit more money, I don’t think my having more would improve how I feel. I enjoy when I fall into unexpected money, but I don’t remember losing sleep when I lost money.
I spend my resources on my relationships with my friends, family, and community; keeping healthy; and enjoying and improving myself.
EDIT: I followed up this essay with “An essay on money, part 2“
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