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Why do I write so much about money?

This is a guest blogging post by Julie Ali.

I have enough of it. But perhaps I write about money because I am interested in how money divides people. Rich people, or people with a lot
of money have something that poor people do not have. At its’ simplest level, the presence of money makes choices available.

And I am a fan of choices. I like to be able to decide if I can work or not. I would like to be able to eat and have shelter during my retirement years. I know that there is a finite amount of money in my future and that makes me afraid. This fear, propels me in my current life to pay down debt and this pay down of debt, to some extent decreases the money available for current usage and therefore for consumption. And if consumption is the primary measure of our success and enjoyment of life, then I guess, I am not as privileged as the rich people are. This understanding that I am not rich makes me wonder: “if I am not rich, am I poor?”

But everything inside me rebels against the label of poor. To be poor is to be status less. To be poor is to be empty of labels = middle class ones at least. To be poor is to lack choices and freedom. To be poor is to be no body.

If indeed, I am poor and a nobody in this society – is that really so bad? I am free to think, read and write. I am free to do what I want to do for
most of my day. If I am tired, I lay me down to rest. If I am hungry, I eat. I am on nobody’s schedule and nobody makes me do what I do not want to do. However, somebody is financing this way of life – my husband. Is it fair to him to ask him to pay his life energy for my freedom? I don’t think so. We both need to do our fair share. Just staying at home with the boys is not sufficient return for the freedom of being a SAHM. Work needs to fill some of the available spaces in my life.

The work I do has function, form and a fixed schedule. It serves some role in the motion of the great dinosaur of a university but one day, I dream, I will move out of clerical work and do something better. But what? What types of work are better? All work involves some indignity to the natural soul of a person. Work crushes humour, bleeds out a person’s rich and diverse character and creates in it’s place a bland Tapioca ONE PERSON who does little but mouth stock phrases and leap from one mothballed response to another. There is a strong desire in me to rebel in the work environment; to throw off the incessant humming of the telephone, the computer, the printer and the cash register. I feel sometimes that I am going mad in the dead zone of the office.

But it gives me money. This money I show to myself to make me go to work. This money I stuff into envelopes to pay down our mortgage. This money buys me.

So if work and money are buying me – my time -then the topic of money does have relevance. It has relevance because my time is precious, the amount of time I have is limited and unknown, while in contrast, work is endless and painful.

Julie Ali loves to write and is a stay at home mom of two elementary school boys.