Ramblings About Money

It’s a strange thing to realize that you’re a grownup. After hiding in the label of being a twenty-something for 10 years and then trying to figure out what it means to be a thirty-something.. I realized that it’s not the same kind of thing at all. When you’re thirty you need to start really getting your crap situation figured out if you haven’t already. It’s okay to be broke with heaps of stamps in your passport at 25.. at 35.. it’s a bit different. Because in my 30s, I need to be thinking about my future. I can’t be paying off the same debt, making the same financial mistakes, being the same kind of impulsive that I was years ago. I know that doesn’t actually lead to any happy or healthy state of being.

I heard recently of a bank that was trying to get people to invest for their future selves. They put people’s images through an “aging machine” and showed them photos of how they will most likely look in 30-40 years. The idea was to prompt them to start saving for that person and stop spending on who they are now. Powerful ideas really.

I have realized that I am very impulsive, I don’t like saying no and I love stuff. Seeing as I don’t have any rich uncles who are about to die and I haven’t published a New York Times best seller.. and no obscenely wealthy sheik or bachelor is vying for my affection, I can’t continue to support my impulses and desire for stuff. It’s interesting because I find that I am really quite addicted to stuff. And with online shopping, I can get all the stuff I want delivered to my house. I don’t even have to go out!

This has to stop. It’s not healthy. It’s excessive. I have learned to justify my purchases in alarming ways. I deserve it, I had a bad day, I’m alone in Tokyo so I deserve a treat, I don’t have a mortgage or children to provide for so why not, I have a good job, I can afford to treat myself… the justifications go on and on. And the thing is, they aren’t lies. Sometimes I think it’s good to treat oneself, sometimes I think that it’s nice to make a reward and figure out a way to earn it. But when I go and buy things hoping for a sense of fulfillment or glimpse of happiness, I realize how very fleeting they are. Then credit card statements come and I can’t even remember what that recent amazon purchase was.

The thing is.. yes I have money but I’m not being a good steward of it. I’m not thinking of me at 63 or 73 or 83.. I’m still so programmed to thinking of how me at 33 is going to have a good happy time. I need to be mindful of my choices, find joy in things other than stuff (God and people) and think of the future, not the present.

My goal would be to be in a position that if I was presented an opportunity to… go write a book on a island for a year or go work in an orphanage for a period of time or move home for a while or go back to school or any other sort of fill-in-the-blank situation that I haven’t thought of.. that I would be able to do it without any major strain. I don’t want to be controlled by money or the lack of it.

So I’m moving into a new stage of being sensible.. I should have figured that out 10 years ago but .. well there were some important stamps I needed in my passport.

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