I loved the movie Pitch Perfect, and the mashup that the Bellas sing at the end. Until that movie, I wasn't familiar with Jessie J.'s song "Price Tag." Now it's one that our family frequently sings on repeat on long car trips. Maybe it's not okay for our 4-year-old to sing about "video hoes," but I'm willing to risk a conversation about that for the larger message that being obsessed with money is not a good idea.
That said, even though we collectively belt "I just wanna make the world dance, forget about the price tag," at the top of our lungs, I think my family still serves money and not the other way around. Another anecdote: Mike and I talk all the time about what we'll do when we win the lottery. We already know what piece of property we'll buy, and how we will spend our new-found leisure time. Mike wants to plant orchards. I want to run a little store. Mike is the lottery ticket buyer in our house. If the jackpot gets past a certain threshold, he'll buy a few tickets, and we'll all cross our fingers. Not long ago, he brought home a few scratch-offs, and let Emme scratch off one of them. She asked how she would know if she won, and I explained that she had to match the winning number, 7. She scratched off all of the boxes, and then started comparing, one by one. Then she saw it. Another 7. She started jumping up and down screaming "WE WON THE LOTTERY!" I looked down to see what the prize was, and saw that she won $1. And then I had to explain to her that $1 is not enough to realize our lottery dreams.
Emme wasn't excited about winning the lottery because she wants to buy a mansion and tricked-out cars. She was excited about winning because it meant unlimited leisure time with her parents. When I say I serve money, I serve it in much the same way she interpreted her lottery winnings. There's not much I want to buy. I'm not one of these people who wants designer clothes (wouldn't fit me right anyway), fancy cars, and a 10,000 square foot house (or the pressure to fill it up). And so while I don't think Biggie's declaration of "more money, more problems" applies to me, my obsession with money relates to the fact that I don't have enough of it to be able to spend my time the way I want to. Maybe a better adage for me is "time is money," and I don't seem to have enough moolah to buy the kind of time I want.
So how do I get from serving money to money serving me? I'm working on it. It's something that I struggle with daily. How to feel content. How to maximize the leisure time I do have so that I don't resent other obligations. How to find what I'm really meant to do. How to not feel bad about the money I have when others have to make do with less. How to not feel resentful about the money I don't have when others have so much more. It's tough work, friends, and I know that I'm not alone in this. If you have tips on how to reframe money in way that feels healthier and more balanced to you, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
[Just a reminder - the 101 questions I'm working through come from a website called Pick Your Brain.]