The Root of all Evil? Tuesday January 16, 2018
The actual quotation is "For the love of money is the root of all evil". It is not money that is evil, but the greed and dishonesty it can inspire.
A few things prompted this blog. I watched a T.V. programme about the emergency services. It focused on the rise in calls involving panic attacks, and suicide attempts. Money problems, zero- hour contracts and unemployment were a common feature. A distraught woman reported that her husband, a successful businessman employing a large workforce, was missing. His company was in trouble, he felt responsible for 150 mortgages. Tragically he was found hanged.
Last weekend I watched The Florida Project. It is the story of the cheap rundown motels surrounding Disneyland, home to a large moving population of people scratching a living, fighting to maintain some dignity, and often failing.
Then I watched a Ted Talk by a pair of young Americans calling themselves The Minimalists. Their philosophy is that we have more than is good for us.
I am now financially comfortable, although I have an irrational fear of poverty. This is a hangover from a couple of periods in the past, when I truly did not know where the next meal was coming from. I recall one dinner, Weetabix, a dented tin of pears from the back of the pantry, strawberry blancmange. Surprisingly tasty, but most importantly, filling.
I was doing 3 jobs to pay the bills. Around the same time a friend suggested we meet for lunch. It was at a local wine bar, not too expensive. I worked out that if I lived on baked potatoes and toast for a couple of weeks, and cut my own hair, I could split the bill.
She was the daughter of titled parents, living rent-free in a lovely house owned by the family. She was just off to Los Angeles; plane tickets a gift from friends over there. She spent the lunch bemoaning her poverty, she could not afford facials and leg waxing before the trip. I heard myself say, "Let me get this" and she did not argue. I walked away, the meal turned to lead in my stomach. My idea of being broke was not quite the same as hers.
To this day I cannot put my card in the cash machine without a small lurch in my guts - will it get swallowed up, am I overdrawn?
I have had the usual bad times in my life, but next to serious illness or death of loved-ones, I can think of nothing that is as depressing and debilitating as long-term money worry.
A saying of my mother's - "When money goes out the door, love flies out the window". A therapist told me that more marriages break up over money than sex or infidelity. Money clearly represents something pretty powerful in our relationships.
It's not just marriage. How many siblings seem fine with each other, until a parent's will is read? Then all the grudges and resentments from the past come out.
I would be interested to know if money, or lack of it, has played a part in your mental health problems? On a lighter note, what has been the most "creative" dinner you have conjured up when strapped for cash-your penny-pinching signature dish.
A Moodscope member.
Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.