My Equation With Money Kept Changing With Time. Did Yours? - Blog

My Equation With Money Kept Changing With Time. Did Yours?

My spouse is posted to a different city every 3 or 5 years. And every time we moved to a different city, our lives changed. Sometimes I landed a well paying highly satisfying job immediately. At other times, I was forced to remain idle for months. Our fluctuating fortunes forced us to experience three different phases in our lives.


The No Money Phase:

I was not earning. So I thought I was “just” a “mere” house-wife and a mother. Period. “No money phase” had stripped me of an identity. I was frustrated because I could not put my education and abilities to good use.

I was overwhelmed with fear and insecurity. I cut corners and saved every penny that I could. I became stingy. I hoarded things to satiate my fears and insecurity. I envied those who had an abundance of money. I often felt that life had treated me unfairly.

Yes, these fears were very real. Not having money changed my perspectives on life. My world shrank. My perspectives became narrow. I focussed only on having enough money. It becomes a prime priority in my life.

lonely woman

But this “no money” phase forced me out of my comfort zone too. I looked at other alternatives for making money. I explored anything and everything that came my way. It was better than sitting idle with no money in hand. That’s when I discovered my potential.

Surprisingly, I grew as a person and learnt the most important life lessons during this phase. I learnt a value like humility. I learnt to respect money. I realized that I had always taken money and several aspects of life for granted.


The “Enough Money And More” Phase:

I landed a decent paying job and voilá! Suddenly people started looking at me with respect. They wanted to know how I balanced my home, my work and my son’s educational needs all at the same time.

Money had suddenly given me an identity. I got so much admiration and attention now. I felt alive. I smiled and laughed more often.  I did not want to go back to the “no money phase” ever again. So we directed all our finances towards building a decent nest egg for ourselves. Once we had tucked away enough to overcome a crisis, we explored ways of enjoying our hard earned money. A brand new car and a trip to an exotic destination were all things we could comfortably afford now. We didn’t even need our smartphones to click pictures. Those experiences will remain etched in our memories forever.

And yes, I realized that money can buy that life-saving drug too. That day I understood the importance of money. It was a truly sobering experience.

Money had expanded my world and filled it with positivity. We basked in the happiness that money could buy us. But at an internal level, I realized that I valued work more than money. Work gave me a deep sense of meaning and filled me with a great sense of satisfaction. I slept deeply and looked forward to each day. I sought out work that I loved doing instead of doing things just to earn money.

Money was important. But it was work that gave me a purpose in life. We are now in the most beautiful phase of our lives.


The “Money Flows In And Out Of Our Lives” Phase:

A merger was all that was needed to push us out of our comfort zones again. And all those official perks that we were entitled to – suddenly vanished. Wow – that was a super duper whack on our finances. We now pay almost a third of our salary on accommodation alone.

We learnt the toughest but the best lesson of all now. We were forced to let money flow out of our accounts month after month. The future suddenly seemed very unpredictable. The “no money phase” fears plagued us for a while because my income continued to remain erratic.

But strangely it was when the money flowed out of our lives freely – that it flowed right back into our lives again. I landed a highly satisfying and decent paying job within a fortnight of moving into our new rented accommodation.

It was during this phase that we learnt to live in the “here and now” without worrying too much about the distant future. We realized the value of contentment. We had that nest egg to fall back on. That filled us with a feeling of security.

We learnt to find joy in the small things that we did on a daily basis. A decent cup of coffee brewed with fresh milk that we sipped on leisurely – well before the sun rose. Those long drives that we went on – to unwind after working hard through the week. Those little treats that we binged on every Sunday evening. Those double scoops of our favourite ice-creams that we unfailingly fought over! We cherish them all now. But every now and then we hop in and out of…


“Let’s Question The Strange Equation That We Have With Money” Phase:

It was only when money flowed in and out of our lives did we wonder about the true meaning and purpose of our lives. Money is most certainly not the “be all and the end all” of our lives now. We know that money can buy us many things, but it is up to us to find happiness and meaning in our lives too.

The meaning and definition of “happiness” and “meaning” varies from person to person. That, of course, is natural and will depend on which of those three phases we are in at any given point of time in life.

To us, today and now, it means something that fills us with a lasting kind of bliss and peace. I feel I have lived my life to the fullest on days when I do something meaningful and productive. I find peace in the great relationship that I share with a handful of people. The equation that I share with every person is different yet I feel rich when these people stand by me and support me in my hour of need. They accept my weaknesses and struggles. They love me the way I am. Hopefully, I too add the same value to their lives.

And in that way, I am richer than all the richest people put together. My experiences in life have been a merry medley of good, bad and bitter. But I would not change even the tiniest of details in my past life even if I were given all the money of the world in exchange. The experiences of my life have enriched me beyond measure.

And yes, all the money in the world cannot repair broken relationships. Money cannot turn the clock back and repair the damage that we have done with our venomous words. Sadly, money also has the ability to break up homes.

So now, even as I write this article, I realize that we need to temper money with common sense and have the right perspectives on life. Money is just a commodity that serves a very important purpose in our lives. But true happiness can never ever find a permanent place alongside money alone.

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