Money Between FriendsI had a falling out with a friend over money. Not lending it, borrowing it or spending it. Just about having it.Or not.According to the American Psychological Association, 76% of Americans are stressed out about money. That includes those who have it as well as those who don't. And everyone in between.
My friend and I both own the places we live in, travel occasionally, own a car and have enough food to eat and enough left over for a computer. It's true that she has an inheritance of undisclosable proportions and I do not and this has become a hot button issue for both of us. I don't consider myself a particularly envious person or someone in dire financial straits. As long as Medicare, Social-Security and my pension from work stay in place I will be fine.Yet I sometimes panic irrationally about money. I realize that this has more to with wounds from my past; a host of experiences that my friend had no part in.
The psychologists say that when folks inherit money one of the first things they feel compelled to do is justify it. Statements like "I put up with him for years so he owes me at least this much," are common. I want to say once and for all that those of us who didn't inherit money have also had to put up with a lot of crap in the course of our lives. Sometimes even more. Instead of introducing the theory of just desserts, it might be more appropriate to just simply acknowledge, "I was lucky," or something to that effect.
The concept of financial security is a totally subjective idea. I know people with a million dollars worth of savings and assets who are terrified and feel totally broke. I also know folks who live hand to mouth and haven't a care in the world, people who are certain in their belief that the universe will provide.
No matter where the chips fall people tend to come unglued when it comes to money. It is a trigger for all sorts of feelings because of, not only what it buys, but what it represents: i.e: freedom from wage slavery and, most significantly, freedom from fear. Many people are very secretive about their financial circumstances. I've had friends who would rather die than tell me how much they earn. Then there are people like me who give out too much information in every realm. These friends tend to be in situations most similar to mine.
While working at the library reference desk, contemplating these ramifications, a ghost from my past suddenly appeared in the flesh. She had been lovers with an old roommate of mine in the early eighties. She looked older, more disheveled and totally down and out, probably not homeless (she was too clean) but likely living in a local SRO. Her speech was badly slurred and she was carrying a large duffel bag.
She didn't seem to recognize me at all as she crouched down on the marble floor and began unpacking the clothes in her sack, spreading them around her. "The security guards keep hassling me," was what I think she said. As her eyes met mine, I flashed back to her young, wild self. The one who drank and danced till dawn and shot up a bit too. My mind drifted back to the time that her roommates planted drug paraphenalia openly in her apartment the day her probation officer was scheduled to come for a visit. Has she spent time in jail, mental institutions? As I often do working at a place that serves as a quasi-mental hospital, I felt, responsible, respectable, like someone who had carved out a niche on the food chain. It's true I have worked hard. But I've also been lucky. Surviving this tumultuous life any way we can is the best any of us can hope for.
The guard escorted her to the security gate and out into the beautiful, spring afternoon as a crowd of people descended into the atrium needing books, information and basically just an extra dollop of attention. Cyndi Lauper is not exactly a philosopher but she is a proponent of one incontrovertible truth:. "Money changes everything!"Posted by Lavenderjoan at 11:30 AM Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Google Buzz