The short (and simple) answer to this question is no. The real answer however, is neither short nor simple. The thing is, whether you have a billion dollars worth of assets or a measly one hundred naira to keep from starving, the average person worries about money. In this sense, I’m pretty much like everyone else. I tend to worry so much about money that I nearly go nuts. I know worrying doesn’t help any situation, but I do all the same. Lately, I have started to wonder why wonder the thought of money rattles me so much.
I’ve never had a lot of money. Growing up, we were what a much older friend would later call ‘poor nobility’, even though we were neither poor in the purest sense, nor affiliated with any royal/’noble’ blood. By ‘poor nobility’, he was referring to the fact that my family had upper middle class or upper class sensibilities while being of lower middle class means. I think it is a perfect description.
My mother may have a different view of events. But I never had to worry about having food to eat as a child. I never had to hawk to put food on the table as many children do. But there wasn’t enough money to spare on treats some of my mates enjoyed.
My parents tried to give me a good education even when it meant they had to scrape. My peers were children whose parents were relatively well off compared to mine. And it meant that, despite the fact that my family wasn’t truly deprived, I would grow up with a faint sense of deprivation when I couldn’t afford things my peers regarded as basic.
I learned from affluent people around me that money couldn’t buy things like health and happiness. Looking at some people’s conduct, I knew it certainly couldn’t buy class too. But I also knew that it was a nice thing to have. It could buy certain advantages and experiences, and that it could provide some security if you didn’t have to worry about your next meal, a roof over your head, or decent clothes on your back.
Money is not the enemy
By the time I was in university, I had developed a really unhealthy relationship with money. I simultaneously wanted and loathed it. And I definitely worried a lot more than I should have about having enough, and stretching what I had.
Worrying about money had become a habit, and it was a while before I realised that I had spent so much time and energy on this habit that I hadn’t had enough left over for actually learning how to use money properly.
This realisation has proved to be a turning point for me. I don’t have everything I would like to have but I’m gradually building a better relationship with money. I’m learning how to make more money by improving myself and creating value. I’m learning how to plan my finances instead of winging it and worrying myself sick. And I’m learning how to be comfortable in times of scarcity and abundance.
What I can tell you so far is this: It is a beautiful and peaceful freedom that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
So, yes, the short and simple answer to the question about money is still ‘no.’ What is your answer?