Have you ever been so driven and focused that you dismiss people in your life, thinking they will always be there, so there is no need to stress over your relationship or lack of one with them?
When I was growing up my father worked all the time. I remember him coming home from work on my birthday, eating some cake and then going back to work. I know that he was trying to do right by all of us and his way of doing that was by bringing home money since he grew up without it, but as a kid I only knew he was’t there most of the time.
As the years passed this pattern stayed with him and moments shared with my father were even rarer. When he did give you his time it was something you cherished and coveted, making him or what we thought was him so special.
But he wasn’t special. He was a man who did what he wanted, without thinking about how it effected anyone else. My mother tired of his inability to be there emotionally and asked for a divorce. I never understood how he let that happen since he always said she was the best thing that ever happened to him.
Within a short time he married a woman who lacked the same emotional connection he did, tolerated my siblings and I and eventually convinced my father that life was easier for her, without us in it. I guess they shared the same obsession with money because I must have heard a thousand times, “You can always tell the people with money.”
Since I was not taught the value of money and only saw it as a means that ruined families or something that was evil, like I didn’t want to be one of those people my step mother talked about, I spent it as fast as I could get it.
I’ve been on my own financially since the day after high school. I ate potatoes or popcorn for dinner if I ate at all, and lived for the cafeteria meal at the Marriott I worked at or happy hours where they had free buffets because I was too broke to pay for food.
I had a lot of fun, but money….I didn’t give a crap about it. I only needed a few bucks to go out, so I made sure I had that and didn’t worry about much else. I lived this way for a long time and I was just fine. Happy even. I was surrounded by people I loved, who loved me back and we laughed at how broke we were.
I have had money, lost it, found it again, worked like a dog for it and bought whatever I wanted. I know the value of money, I’m not a dope. But I know the value of good relationships more, especially since I have experienced really bad ones.
Money is important but it should never define who we are. Money is merely paper, yet people give it so much power. I have met people who use their money to control others, people who look down their nose on those they perceive as less than because they are waiting on them or cleaning for them and even some who have all the bells and whistles that money can buy and they don’t enjoy any of it.
Nobody likes to be controlled, but if money is your driving force, then you are already controlled and have probably let relationships fall to the wayside that would have fulfilled you far more than that dollar in your pocket ever will.
Money is great, but relationships are far better. If you have a good one, you have a partner for life and someone who will be with you even if you don’t have money, because a healthy relationship isn’t built on what you acquire, it’s built on trust, respect and honor.
I rarely speak to my father. It’s not because I don’t want to, it’s because I find the conversation unfulfilling and he is always in a hurry to get off the phone. He has never changed, I gather he never will at this point and me expecting him to only brings disappointment. I would not say it is too late for us because he’s my dad.
But for anyone else who has not seen my value and thought that something over there was more important, it is far too late and I can’t be bothered.
The choices we make define our lives. Money will give you more choices, but it won’t do much else.