Thursday, 21 May 2009

What Drives You?

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?


  1. Yeah you would say that :D

  2. Money doesn't buy happiness but it does buy freedom and that's no small thing.

  3. Im pretty much with mj on this one... When it comes to money being careful with it is the way to go but at the same time we should not dare deprive ourselves of pleasure which lets be honest is mainly got by spending money sometimes less than wisely

  4. hmm... id say im driven by independence in similar ways: even though i didnt have to fend for myself while growing up. so, salute u i do, lady! ur like a desert flower u r.

    financial, social, creative, intelectual and physical independence -thats what drive me.

    oh and words. of course. but not just any ol words. words worth their mettle. like the ones at this blog :)

  5. I agree with Kimya - independence and of course financial freedom... I think the worst for me is relying on some and then being being treated badly by them esp family.

    For me it being comfortable and not caring what other think! PS your posts are always inspiring!

  6. LL - I always say that money can't make you happy, but the LACK THEREOF will definitely make you miserable :P

    Noojie - Thanx, thats a great comp...although I wouldn't understand why though ;P

    Edge - I think the definition of "pleasure" differs for each of us because I dont take any pleasure in wasting money and buying things. Even stuff I REALLY love, like jewelry, I'd never buy for myself. Let me elaborate why:

    You see I used to be a very materialistic person. Whatever I wanted, I worked and owned it eventually. I had over R30K worth of jewelry by the time I was 18. And then one day, a few criminals walked into my house and stole EVERYTHING. Every single thing I had owned had some sentimental value to it, so nothing could be replaced. But it was only after the second or third time that it happened that I learned the lesson behind it. The third time was in London, had someone steal a very valuable ring of mine, and incidentally I was moving from one house to the other at the same time. I can remember thinking that I had too much unnecessary shit (to carry around) in my life, it was bogging me down, holding me back. Thats when I changed.

    It was then that I decided that its not worth attaching emotional value to things because when you love something too much, you are bound to lose it. Its like the law of the Universe or something.

    These days, I still have a few pieces of jewelry I received as gifts, but I value the thought more than the actual piece. These days I'll rather spend or waste money on Gibraltar or Paris, instead of buying a 100K Sony Plasma Screen. These days when I buy things, I buy those things I'm prepared to lose, knowing my heart wont break over the loss.

    KS - I'd definitely say words because you've got a way with them ;D

    Princess - I know what you mean. I hate feeling like i'm a burden to people, especially family. And even though they're family, it doesnt stop the resentment and negativity. Thats what drives my independance too.

  7. i finally managed to read this entry and once again i could relate to alot of what you wrote. minus the penchant for travelling (due to cultural norms not a lack of adventure on my part).

    its weird. i am sitting here, plotting my next steps. and all i can conclude is life is weird. i feel like i have been retracing my steps this year. as i walk deeper and deeper into my past, i feel like i have given myself a second chance to do everything. and i'm loving the freedom and liberation that #that# has brought with it. its self realisation and its also something that is bringing ME closer to myself. i appreciate none of this rambling will make sense to anyone but me and maybe those of understanding. but hey. its my vent :D

    i also know that i will marry, or will want to marry, someone who is a grafter, someone who is driven not by money, selfishness, laziness, or greed but something else. i find guys with drive and focus, extremely extremely attractive. :D

    what drives me? hmm. life.

    ps. money can and does buy happiness. anyone who tells me otherwise is lying to themselves.

  8. Sofs guys with drive and power are a natural aphrodisiac:D

    Az, I agree totally-freedom & security & the limited options are the goals.

    Sofs-will respond to you via email.

  9. Ive read the post, read the comments... and I give you mad props for the person that you were, AND the person you have become. Your life experiences shape you, and I always think that they are there to teach us a lesson. You definitely have grown, matured, and enjoying life due to all of that. You never should have to explain yourself for anything, be it love of money or travels.. you're fine as you are. Sooner or later, we all come full circle! :)


  10. Sofi - We live and learn. And whatever floats your boat is what you should go for :P

    Bibi-Aisha - I LOVE having options. Thats why I need loads of money. I think I love the thought of being able to own anything I want (and the power associated with that) more than I would love actually owning it. Does that make sense?

    Ms - Thanks :D I agree 100% We all eventually come full circle. And the person I am today was shaped by good and horrendous events...even so I wouldn't change it for anything. I wish for everyone the enlightenment and contentment they seek.