Maybe I'm weird, but, if I am, I'm cool with that. A few years ago, I had a family member pounding on his chest asking why I didn't care more about money because I'm satisfied living a low key life and being a writer despite being the sole support of my family. I suppose the trappings of a lavish lifestyle would satisfy others that I was taking care of things "better", I don't know---but, to me, that would mean sacrificing time with my kids who are only a few years away from college.
The truth is...I'm not materialistic. I used to be, I can admit that. I used to care about keeping up "appearances", but now I could care less. I'm done with living my life according to someone else's standards. I'm more interested in the story behind things that I own--the ring I bought in the Dominican Republic that I witnessed being crafted, the necklace that I bought in Cabo San Lucas on a girls' trip, the recycled vinyl purses I like because they're cool while simultaneously being good for the earth, this small cabin I live in where I've raised my children, or the faux fur coat of my Grandmother's that I wear because it's gorgeous and makes me feel wrapped in her love.
When asked if my grandmother's coat is "real", I always ask why they want to know. What does it matter? It's gorgeous and warm. It also has a story behind it. My grandmother needed to work at a candy factory when things got hard for her family. My grandfather and her, along with their four children, lived on a farm. Sometimes life wasn't easy. She worked at the candy factory for extra money to make ends meet, but bought this coat as her "one nice thing". I'm sure it was extravagant back in the day...and I'm also confident that no one asked her if it was real. Now it's mine and, when I wear it, I remember how valuable it was to her, what it meant and feel beautiful in it because of the story.
Too many people are caught up with "money". Yes, it's essential in life, but it doesn't make someone better than another...or less than. It is a thing, a way of exchange, a partner in our lives. Do we need it? Of course, I'm not stupid. Do I enjoy earning it? Yes, however, I'm not ruled by it.
This Christmas I gave gifts with thought and some humor behind them, truly took time to think about what would be right for the person rather than what would be impressive. It was perfect. We had fun! Santa gave me a flask, which I'll admit was the PERFECT gift! (Guess who Santa is in my house?)
To me, life is about experiences and stories. Maybe I'm strange, I don't know. Perhaps this is why I'm a writer rather than a CEO. Whatever the reasoning, I am how I am. I care more about the thought behind something, the story that comes along with a piece of art, the humor in the every day and the relationships in my life than the value of a thing.
I don't see labels; I see people. I'm bothered by those who are blind to the latter.
Money comes...and it goes. Stories remain.