The Thoughtless Thief
I use to steal money. Yup! That's right. I would wait until my mom wasn't paying attention and I would swipe a twenty dollar bill right out of her purse. I was 10. She never noticed which was so cool! I continued my bill swiping late into my twenties. Embarrassing and awful, I know. But I am here to admit the gory details of my mismanagement of money and I believe that is where it started; stealing, quite innocently from my parents.
You see, it wasn't just the bill swipe... it was the searching of pockets after my dad got home from work (yes, still 10). I thought it was quite clever, actually. He would leave change in his suit pockets and I would find ways in which to redistribute the change. Call it lets say my own little 'economic stimulus package.' Other than the fact that I was lifting money from my parents (stealing seems so strong) what is curious to me still, to this day, is why they never noticed? They weren't playing dumb. They just didn't have a clue.
We were not rich but we had money. We had everything we ever needed growing up. We were spoiled. My parents were generous and wanted us to have what we wanted because their parents weren't as capable of giving them what they wanted. I don't think my parents ever managed a budget. If they did, they would know that twenty-dollar bills went missing mysteriously, often.
Money didn't have a tangible meaning to me. It was there when I needed it. It was free for the taking (according to me) and it was easy to obtain. I know that these attitudes about money are not healthy (it has taken me a long time to admit this). However, it is why, everything relating to money, I have done wrong. When it comes to the management of money, my attitude toward money today, now in my 30's, is really awful.
I am more dependent than ever on money. I have very little of it and I still don't know how to create a relationship with money that is healthy, one that might create financial calm. Rather, I bounce, and I am surprised (still) when my account is overdrawn. I have burned, yes, BURNED countless bank statements because I am certain the banks are wrong. They must be wrong.
Though pocket poor and soul rich I travel on. I admit my weakness and through this column I hope to raise some questions about our relationship to money and WHAT NOT TO DO. Trust me. I wrote the book.
And I don't blame my parents, although, I tried really hard to do that for years! It seemed easier. I blame myself and my kleptomaniac beginnings. Though, I still can't believe they never noticed?
Ashley E. Kingsley, head of Asher Solutions, thrives on connecting people. She is on the cutting edge of Web 2.0/Social Media and brings years of community relations, marketing and business development expertise to her clients.
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