I believe that I officially became a “Spender” in a K-Mart at 8 years old. I was in line (with my mom and sisters and little brother) and had in hand some money that I had recently received as a birthday gift. I decided that I wanted what I wanted. I had the money. I was going to get it. What was it? A miniature gum ball machine complete with gum balls. OF COURSE!
I had convinced myself that I needed it so I could set it on my dresser and look at how cute it was, so I could impress my best friend Melinda, and so I could buy gum balls from myself whenever I wanted.
This made complete sense to me. Cuteness, impressiveness, and gum.
WHENEVER I WANTED. YES. THIS IS WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF FOLKS.
While waiting in line a thought crossed my mind. I remember thinking that if I saved all my money from here on out I could BECOME A MILLIONAIRE! and maybe even by the time I’m 20 (20 sounded old then)! Then it was my turn at the register and fantasies of millionaire-hood left my mind as my money left my hand.
All these years later that moment in line continues to stand out. I think because it was a turning point. A point when I consciously decided that I wanted what I wanted and at all costs. I wanted more than anything to keep up with my friends whose parents made more than mine and I wanted to seem like I had all that I could ever want. I wanted to play millionaire and pretend that I was somewhere I wasn’t. I couldn’t accept where I was at in life- which wasn’t bad by any means- it just wasn’t the richest and it wasn’t the best bEST BEST WHOA WHOOA BEST! you know? And our society says “be the best” because if you’re not it’s tantamount to being nothing. Which obviously isn’t true but if you think about it, there’s really not much “let’s be okay with where we’re at”. It just doesn’t happen much because money drives everything which means things drive everything. Success in our society is measured largely by the amount of things we own and how impressive those things are. That’s kind of whack right? It is.
What have I learned from this all these years later? More than anything, I’ve learned that having everything I want isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Is there a moment in your life that marked a turning point in your relationship with money?