Growing up in a lower-class neighborhood, mostly living in apartments, I was not in an environment where I experienced money or wealth. My best friend, who lived next-door, went to a different school, but we played after school and on the weekends. We were inseparable. Her dad was a doctor, and it seemed that they had a very nice life and enough money to do really cool things. She was an only child and had all the latest fashions, makeup, jewelry, you name it. I loved going to her house for Friday night sleepovers when we would play with her mom’s makeup, dress up like rock stars, and do dance and singing routines for hours. As an only child, she received a ton of attention.
To be honest, though, as much as I loved my best friend, I was really a little jealous of how easy her life appeared while I was extremely shy and insecure about my financial situation. I remember one time going to a concert at the Greek Theatre with her family. When we placed our order at the McDonald’s drive-thru, they asked me what I wanted, but I did not order anything. I was embarrassed at not having any money. I had no idea what to do. And I was starving, so when the bags of hot food were in the car with fresh burgers, I was so bummed about not having any. But I kept saying, “I am not hungry,” because I felt bad ordering without having money of my own.
My insecurity around money started at a young age. For many years, I had a negative view of money as I felt it was too hard to manage. I was always in debt and tired of being broke and living paycheck to paycheck. I saw others who had more money as being greedy or, worst of all, I thought women who were in a better position than me to be “gold diggers.”
It is no wonder I had an uphill battle when it came to money as my thoughts around it were so negative, as money (or the lack thereof) was what my parents fought about the most. It caused major pain in my life growing up, listening to the adults around me argue about money.
During my marriage, we filed for bankruptcy twice. All my fears as a kid growing up with not a lot of money played out in my marriage. After my marriage ended, it was funny to me that people close to my ex-husband would say, “Now she can marry a rich man to take care of her” or “She is a gold digger.”
I find it interesting that anyone would have seen me that way. I grew up poor, I dated men I really cared about, and after my marriage, I worked in many different jobs to support my kids when my ex was not providing financial support for them. I also started to realize that the people I looked up to were not the wealthiest, so it was not all about money. And if I am a gold digger, then I need to find myself a bigger shovel!
Of course, I strive to have a very nice life and, yes, I have dated men who are well off, but I have also dated men who were not. Of the two groups, I prefer to date men with money, and if that makes me a gold digger, then I accept that!
What is a gold digger anyway? I looked up the definition and found a song recorded by Kanye West in 2005 by the same name. The song is about a woman who only dates rich guys or guys who have a massive bank account for their money and no other reason (this applies to men who date rich women too!).
Looking at my past dating life, I can honestly say that I do not fit into this category. I have continued to date the “same guy” for a long time—and I have yet to find my gold mine!
The last time I was riddled with fear about money was when I received the biggest commission I had ever gotten. I received two checks, and I put them in a safe place for two weeks as I did not know what to do with that money. I asked my mentor what I should do. I had a lot of fear that I might never make this kind of money again! I was given great advice then, and I went on to spend two years educating myself better about my financial affairs.
Today, I am wealthy for many reasons, but having money is low on my list of priorities in terms of what I consider the attributes of being wealthy. I have my health, close supportive friends, my kids, and my kids’ health. I do what I love, I contribute to causes I believe in whenever I can, and I continually grow and work on myself, and that is what I consider true wealth. There is no price tag on the life I live each day and the moments I appreciate.
I have been poor, and I have been rich. I have struggled, and I have had it easy. Money is a gift that offers grace. It is love, a spiritual game, expanding, growing, and allowing for endless opportunities, including travel and new life experiences. It provides balance. Money is strategic, creative, and magical, and it comes and goes all the time—sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly—but it is never ending.
Today, I am happily a gold digger after my own gold. I am the creator of my magic. I am the receiver of abundance all around me. I am a giver and a taker. I am wealthy beyond measure as you cannot measure the wealth of waking up one more day to experience all possibilities that are available. So today I say, “God bless the gold diggers!”
What is your attachment to money? What is your definition of money? What is your definition of wealth? I would love to hear your answers.