A need is something that you feel anxious about if you do not have it. Once you have it the pain goes away. The gaping hole in my life where my financial security used to be has caused me much gut-wrenching anxiety in the past 18 months.
Yet no-body, including myself, wants to talk about money.
People spend a lot of time talking about what can be bought with money but not the money itself. People will discuss their travel, clothes, gadgets, houses, and cars. However, they do not discuss much about the money itself or where it comes from or how to get it or how much you need. In fact, in some circles a discussion on money is taboo. It is almost as if you are thought less of a person if you discuss money; and that thinking about money, or the lack of it, it is not a prized value to have.
After my separation, I initially spent a long-time focussing on emotional aspects of losing my partner and soul-mate, my fractured family unit, and the pain of the overwhelming grief, sadness and anxiety I felt about my changed life. Then during my recovering phase I spent some time re-evaluating my values, beliefs and attitudes of trust, kindness, compassion, hope, peace, courage etc No where amongst all that was there anything to do with money.
Part of that relates to the guilt of putting any importance on money. In the very beginning after a separation, when you are faced with abandonment, you do not care a toss about any material possession. There is a cathartic realisation that none of that matters. What matters is people and love and care and kindness. So months later when you start becoming very anxious about your changed financial affairs, you remember back that you concluded that money does not matter, and you feel guilty that now you think that maybe it does.
The truth is that even though we all do not want to talk about it, we all do need it in some form or another, and the changed money situation after a divorce can be catastrophic. I am not talking about greed, such as having innumerable world trips or accumulating beautiful things, I am talking about survival. Having adequate funds so that you can pay the bank debt or house mortgage or rent, pay for utilities, afford good medical care, be able to afford to see your family, then maybe having just a little left over for some savings. But above all, there is the need for some reassurance that what you now have will also not be lost, that this ‘less than half of the former estate’ will not somehow disappear by some other catastrophe.
I know that the values of human kindness and compassion are important. I understand that true happiness lies in seeking out long-lasting experiences of savouring pleasant moments, being grateful for what I have, and seeking out human connections. However, I also do crave that one day I will again own my own home debt-free, that I will be able to comfortably pay my bills on time, that I will have no credit card debt, and that I will be able to put away so that I will have adequate retirement savings for me to enjoy a financial-stress-free old age.
Maybe when that time comes, the anxiety at the pit of my stomach will ease.
I have added “Financial Security” to the list of my own fundamental needs.
Image courtesy [Stuart Miles] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net