Many of us fear not having enough money.
There are plenty of places and spaces where this is an absolutely legitimate fear–after losing a job, when you’ve had an illness or death in the family, after realizing that you made a bad investment.
This blog post is not about that.*
This post is about all of the times, probably hundreds of times in a week, when people who actually have enough and who have always landed on their feet will chronically worry about not having enough.
There is a fear that many people chronically suffer from, one that I call “Worrying that you won’t have enough IF…”
It looks something like this: you’re about to buy something for yourself, say the most gorgeous sweater you’ve ever seen, and it’s $200–for you, an extravagance. If you examine this logically, you know you have the money for the $200 sweater. But what if there wasn’t enough money at the end of the month? You have no reason to believe that there wouldn’t be, but something in you worries about this possibility.
Some people decide to hell with it, buy the sweater. Others leave it on the table. The reaction to the fear differs, but the primary fear is the same: I might not have enough.
Or, it looks something like this: You have a job you hate. You’ve been there for years. You’ve done your work to try to improve it wherever you can, but little to nothing has changed, and waking up and going to this job is wearing thin.
You fantasize about quitting. You draw up budgets of all your household expenses to plot how you’d quit, could you afford it, and…well, interesting. The numbers are kinda sorta working out that you could go to part-time. Or you could build your business for a year if you lived off of your savings and did some freelance consulting in your industry. Or you could…wow. So there are options. But–
butbutbutbutbut. BUT. What if you didn’t have enough?
Even though the math is staring you right in the face: checkbook in the black, a back-up plan to avoid going into the red, you’re afraid of that same question.
What if I didn’t have enough?
What if I didn’t have enough?
What if I didn’t have enough?
It looks something like this: You would really love to take a vacation. Like, more than anything. You’ve worked hard, been responsible, even saved up the money for it–you HAVE the money, ready to go, the vacation time, all of it. You surf travel websites and fantasize about where you’d go.
But what if something happened? What if you lost your job? What if you didn’t have enough money because something awful happened?
The Real Fear
We live in times of materialistic excess and I’m not suggesting that asking common-sense questions that plan for leaner times is the way of the sap.
What I am suggesting is that in these cases where there is a chronic yet unfounded worry about not having enough money, then fear is in the driver’s seat of these choices.
There’s no ease, no expansiveness, no faith in oneself or trust in the world, when you avoid making choices that would lift you up, because you’re afraid of not having enough money.
That gets right to the heart of it:
Fear of not having enough, is often really a fear that you are not enough.
It’s a fear of being defined by your (low) bank account numbers.
It’s a fear that you lack resourcefulness to find solutions if the shit hit the fan.
It’s a fear that you don’t know how to deal with the stress of a serious financial challenge.
It’s a fear that the world, your world, will fall apart.
Everything is Figure-out-able
I’ve lived through “not enough money.” Not a decade of my life has gone by where there were not, at some point, some serious money challenges.
When I was juggling credit cards and bank accounts with less than $50 of room; when the shit actually did hit the fan and didn’t know how I would pay for something; when I was presented with a serious financial challenge, and when my way of living was falling apart, that’s when I learned–
Not to be defined by the numbers; how to find solutions; how to deal with the stress; how to let my world fall apart and come back together, again.
At some point in the midst of all of those experiences, I decided that “Everything is figure-out-able,” and I began looking around for how to figure it out.
Sometimes it meant that I had to go back to working the crap jobs that I’d left. Sometimes it meant that I was working two jobs, rising at dawn to work in one place and falling into bed after midnight, after having worked at another. Sometimes, it meant that I had to ask for charity, or to borrow money. Sometimes it meant extreme budgets.*
But everything has been figure-out-able, even when it initially seemed that it would not be.
Rally Your Resources
It’s one thing for someone who truly doesn’t have options to say that they’re afraid of not having enough.
It’s a loss for all of us when millions of people who do have options, who could figure out a resourceful way to land on their feet in the name of courageously and authentically living their lives, decide not to.
Rally your resources. You have them. You have people you could fall back on, jobs that you could work at for just one more year while hocking away the bucks into a savings account, credit cards that could be juggled, smaller houses that could be moved into, tax returns that are coming your way that could be spent on your dream vacation instead of ever-more prudence.
Take a moment, right now, just to write out all of your resources. List all the things you could sell if you needed the cash, the jobs you’d take on, the blood you’d donate, the apartment complex you’d move into if the shit really hit the fan and it was all about liquidation.
Add up that number.
Then think of the people. Think of your children, and how there’s no price paid for the love you have for them. Think of your partner. Think of your relatives. Think of your friends.
Barn-raising is a thing of the past, but I bet that if you really steeped yourself in considering the good tidings your beloveds have for you, you’d see the Love-raising that they’d provide if you needed it.
Then think of the years you have left. What you want to make of them. How you want to invest your capital–the capital of “The world needs my gift.” Start conversations with people about how they afford what they afford. Learn their tips and tricks.
Add all of the information that you glean from this inquiry into your bucket of gold–the gold that is you.
Whether or not you “have” enough is a small win compared to whether or not you live with a feeling that you ARE enough.
*Yes. I completely understand my privilege in having all of the resources described in this piece. This post is exclusively speaking to all of those people who have access to these sorts of resources, yet still live in chronic fear of not having enough money .