A few days ago, Mash posed this question to me after reading this. And while I’m quite aware of what drives me, it’s difficult to collate and structure into words because I’m not driven by one specific thing. Instead, it’s a myriad of things. But I’d have to say that the top two factors that stand out as contributors and fuel to my fire would have to be Security and Freedom.
When I was a little girl, and my parents had just gotten divorced, we went through some tough times financially. I can remember those dark days like they were yesterday. I was the eldest and automatically took on the role of the caretaker in the family by looking out for my younger siblings and by also taking care of my mother. In retrospect, I took on responsibilities that were not mine to take on and in many ways, I didn’t have a normal childhood.
The child became the mother. I worried incessantly about everything and was constantly stressed because at that age, I was helpless. But I was still a child and there was nothing that I could do to better the situation. There was nothing that I could do to make my mother feel better. There was nothing that I could do to always protect my sisters from the way society ostracized and marginalized us. To make matters worse, we had no social support. We couldn’t turn to my Father’s fucked up family, nor could we rely on my Mothers family at the time. We had no one, it was just us weathering the storm together. I used to watch the other “normal” kids, spoilt brats who got everything they ever wanted and yet were still so ungrateful.
Feeling helpless is the worst thing one can ever go through because it’s like there’s no recourse…no contingency plan. I swore to myself then that I’d NEVER go through that again. That I’d make sure that no matter what I went through in life, no matter what came my way, I’d never be helpless again.
For me, Money firstly means Security. It means that no matter what shit I may go through, at least I wont have to worry if there’s bread on the table. It means never having to worry about the basic necessities required to just “live”. I want to be able to be in a position where I can take care of my family if they need me to, especially my parents. It means that to a large degree, I'll be able to control some things in my life, making up for the years that I had no control and wandered around helplessly.
The dark ages, that feeling of helplessness always made me feel like I was in prison. I hated school because I felt like it was a prison. I hated everything that had too much authority or that required me to bow down to convention. It made me feel like an eternal Prisoner in my own life.
Here again, money to me means Freedom. The freedom to do as I please, when I please…not being reliant on people for my well-being and instead creating my own happiness. I hated living like a Prisoner all those years because I had no other alternative. I resolved to always living my life in such a way, that I ALWAYS have choices and options open and available to me.
Loads of money would give me endless possibilities and opportunities. I love the notion or the thought of having infinite opportunities, options, choices and possibilities at my disposal. Money would allow me to hop on a plane right now to Paris or Buenos Aires, without having to worry about silly things like “I have to work or else we won't survive” etc.
At this juncture, I think it’s important to point out that I do like nice things too…but I’m the kind of person that takes more joy in HAVING money, then SPENDING it. I don’t need a mansion with 18 bedrooms. I don’t need to drive or own a Ferrari. I don’t even need diamond jewelry (even though I’ll marvel at it for hours). And even though I can appreciate the aesthetic and the luxury in things, I don’t need to OWN them. To me, the less I have the better. But having the OPTION to own it...the possibility of having whatever I wanted, when I want it, is what I really want. There's a certain sense of power in having infinite options.
I do however, love living like a traveler with the bare minimum. I love that all my belongings can fit into one suitcase. And whenever I go out shopping for new clothes, I have to come home and throw out some stuff because it always irks me to have too many things. But I also love having those options, which is essentially the freedom to do and acquire as I please.
I’m frugal when it comes to money and I’ll never buy something for 200 bucks when I can get it for 20…and I’ll never buy something because it has a specific name attached to it. That’s absurd. I’m more likely to buy things because they’re reliable, not solely because they look pretty. I’m the type of person that won’t mind living in a tiny house that’s comfortable with just the bare minimum. Minimalism is my style…the less the better. I don’t need thousands of ornaments or dishes or things that I’m hardly ever or never going to use.
My need for Freedom means that 95% of the time, I deal with cold hard cash. I don’t like tying myself down to anything that requires a financial commitment like cellphone contracts and long term payment options. I always pay in cash and like to live my life in such a way that if the need arose to pick up and move countries, I could do so in a flash. And even those debts that I may incur can be covered in a cinch.
For me travelling is Freedom too. That’s why I love it so much. You’ll never be as free as when you’re out wandering and roaming distant lands. My only real splurge is travelling…which incidentally costs lots of money too.
At the end of it all, unlike most people, I’m driven by more than just comfort and luxury. And my penchant for power and authority aside, my Security is whats most important to me, because I don’t have brothers, uncles, a husband etc., no one I can rely on, not even my own parents. Also, my Freedom to me is worth more that a city carved out of gold. I’d eventually like to reach a point where I’m free of material wants, needs and desires…that point where true freedom lies...
Mother always said “With Freedom comes great responsibility and responsibility always costs money”.
So what drives you?