Each month, without fail, I used to have a financial panic attack. My heart started racing, my mind started running circles around itself, my palms got a little sweaty. All at once, I felt the desperate need to collect every bit of information on my financial status. Check my online banking. My page-long lists of everything that I expected to make for the next 6 months and balance that with the minimum expenses for each month. It was messy, complicated, and completely necessary to slow the sprinting thoughts in my mind. I would decide what I was going to save, how much I could spend and what my financial future would look like in 6 months time.
The funny thing is that, no matter where I have been in my career, whether I am making close to minimum wage or more than most 20-somethings expect to have, I would have this monthly anxiety attack. I could be beyond secure or barely scraping by, and, without fail, you would find a piece of paper covered in dollar-amounts sitting on my desk every month.
Truth be told, I am sitting in a good place most days. I have come to recognize the patterns within my anxiety, and I have also come to understand that my relationship with money during these moments of panic is neither rational or healthy. I am beyond grateful for parents and a sweetheart who straighten my head back on during these moments, who remind me that I have nothing to worry about, that I am young and financially secure, and that, should something happen, I have them to fall back on. I am not alone.
Each of us have our own story, our own relationship with our finances. This is just mine. For some of us, we spend without worry. For others, we scrimp and save, worrying about each penny. For some of us, spending comes with immediate guilt, and, for others, the guilt comes once you return home. Some of us spend to relax, and it's been proven that shopping relieves anxiety for many. Others track every cent spent with an eagle's eye, carefully budgeting for each expenditure. Each of us have our story. And that's ok.
But to remain ignorant to our relationships with our finances would be a mistake, in my opinion. To realize that we all have anxieties surrounding our spending, to be mindful of our innate financial priorities, and to realize that not everyone we meet will come with the same story... it's not only essential for knowing ourselves in a deeper way but is necessary to keep our relationships with our loved ones healthy and honest. A striking and saddening number of romantic relationships end because of financial stressors, financial strain, and the unwillingness to delve into each others' financial stories to discover greater understanding. Deep anxieties are masked by massive spending sprees, for some. For others, life is restricted for fear of letting go.
For me, today could have been one of those days. To let anxiety rule my relationship with money and my life. But I work to cultivate health in that area of my life, something that has the potential to be transformative for my mind, body and the relationships with those that I love most.
Originally posted on To Live Boldly, by Kate Krueger.