Money? What Money?

My thoughts on (not) having money.

One of the biggest problems I have, so I know others have it as well, is a fear of success. I look at my life and wonder why. Why I don’t have any savings, why don’t I have a nest egg to fall back on, why don’t I have any money in the bank? Forget the economy and focus on the question: Why don’t I have a nest egg, i.e. money in the bank?

Heaven knows I have had numerous opportunities in my life of six decades to make a lot of money but for some reason, I always sabotage myself. Why is that?

In the last two months of 2010, I realized that I had a problem, a very serious problem. I decided I needed to do something about it and I need to do something now. So I began by looking at my background, my own history to see what I was doing wrong. I began by looking at my weakness: I love to spend money. I spend it just as fast I can make it. Why? That became the driving question for me. I need an answer, so I began to look at my past.

May, 2002. I have been out of work for five months. The attacks of 9/11 made finding a job almost impossible. For eight years I had been working temp jobs, going from one company to another, learning about the different companies and the people who ran them. I really liked temp work. It gave me an opportunity to grow, mature my skills and evaluate different business climates. Yes it had some downside, no vacation or health benefits primarily. But that didn’t really bother me as I am retired military and I have military medical on a space available basis. So my health care, for both myself and my family, was taken care of. And as for vacation, well I didn’t really need to take time off so it became a mute point. As far as work went I was almost never without it. The longest I was out of work was almost three months and the shortest was ten minutes. Most of my contracts had been for a year or more with only one or two lasting only a couple of months. Plus temp work normally pays higher since benefits are basically non-existent.

As a temp I was learning a lot, my skills continued to improve and my value increased. But now, now this day in May I was feeling despair and misery. I went for a walk telling myself just how much trouble I was in and I could not see a way out. The money was gone, unemployment was gone, and I was in real trouble. So I walked. And I walked. I found myself in the midst of multimillion dollar homes and I gazed upon them with wanting. Not envy, for I have never been envious of those with money. Yes I wanted a lot of money but I have never been jealous or envious of those that had it. Instead I began to ask myself why I wasn’t there, why I wasn’t living in one of those homes. I began to kick myself for not being better, smarter. All my motivational tapes and books were doing me no good. My life, no matter how “positive” my thought patterns were, was going nowhere. Positive thinking seemed to be blessed on other people, not me. As I passed one of those multimillion dollar homes that were for sale, I stopped and took one of the flyers describing the property. I remember looking upon the home with sad eyes and wanting to cry. Then I snapped.

Something happened to me, something profound, and something that changed my life in an instant. I became determined, hard. My thinking immediately changed and I knew, deep in my gut, that my circumstances were about to change. I began walking again and as I walked I became even more determined to change myself. I began to think about all my Navy experience, twenty years worth. All that I had gone through, all that I had experienced, all the places I had visited, how could I let that go to waste? I couldn’t, I wouldn’t. I arrived home determined to try harder, seek harder, and think smarter.

Then something happened, the following day I got a phone call. A business I had submitted a resume to a month before asked me to come in the following day for an interview. I did. Long story short, I was offered a job and I took it. I am still with that same company these many years later and plan to stay here as long as possible. And therein lays my current dilemma.

That day in May of 2002 my life took a drastic turn for the better, in the employment field. But in the mental field I still had a problem that I didn’t know I had, not until the last two months of 2010. Yes I am employed with a good company, yes I make a decent wage, and yes I am happy in and with my work. But something vital is missing, something is wrong, wrong with me and I needed to find out what it was.

Questions plagued me: Why don’t I have any money in the bank? Why do I live from payday-to-payday? Why is there too much month left at the end of the money? Why? These questions needed answers, but the most important question that needed an answer was: “What am I doing wrong?”

After years of reading books and listening to motivational tapes I thought I was doing things right, only I was still living from payday-to-payday and my bank account was very dry. The weight of such thoughts brought me down into a new low.

In late November 2010 I realized that I was in a depression mode. For six months I didn’t care about anything. I just existed. I was paying bills and living as I had always lived, from payday-to-payday. After years of attempting to provide my mind with positive energy, I just didn’t care anymore. I gave up.

But something happened, after years of reading and listening to motivational material my mind refused to stay depressed. One day in late November I woke up, again. I realized that I was repeating a cycle, always doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result each time. It has been said that type of thinking is a form of insanity. I must be insane because for years I have been repeating and repeating and repeating the same old playbook and always I have obtained the same result – nothing.

That day in November 2010 something else happened, something very profound. After six months of depression, and feeling sorry for myself, I discovered a simple truth: I have a sickness, a fear, a phobia of making money. I have a fear of being wealthy.

So simple right? The answer always in front of me but I never saw it. How human is that? I realized that I had nothing, nothing of real value in my life, and that, I knew, had to change.

To be continued…


About GP McClure

I am a technical writer with over 30 years of writing experience in a variety of subjects and topics, covering a wide range of industries, but specializing in aviation. I have lived in the San Diego California area since 1972 for the most part but spent some years in Japan and Alaska, thanks to the United States Navy. I retired from the Navy in 1992, having served 20 years of active duty in the aviation field.
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