How Depression, Creative Goals, And Distrust In Tradition Influence My Money Habits
But here’s how I actually view money based on my depression.
For those who know me personally, I am a money-minded person — and that is also why I support Universal Basic Income and was so passionate about Andrew Yang’s past campaign.
Is it a bad Asian stereotype? Math, money, and robots taking over the future? Probably, but it is practical and makes the most sense, so I don’t care. It’s much better than supporting the unbearably broken status quo that keeps people down and dehumanizes them.
I don’t like to hoard lots of trending items to show off how cool I am. I don’t like to have much stuff in general, since I want to be ready to pack up and go if I need to. I don’t tie my socioeconomic status with my worth as a human being. I don’t like to jump on the bandwagon of whatever’s trending online just to make some quick bucks.
And I don’t deliberately seek out higher-paying prestigious jobs (which I am unqualified for anyway) to build a reputation that I can’t possibly maintain in the long-run.
Ideally, I want to do what I care about and is also not impossible to do.
But as a pessimist, I am highly aware of my limits and understand that just because I want something, it doesn’t mean I deserve to have it quickly or expect it to be easy — I still have a lot to prove and I still need to find out what gives me a competitive edge.
That’s what I value more than selling out by copying others blindly and using money for the sake of wasteful consumption.
Being money-minded has a bad connotation. It means you’re greedy. It means you’re driven by fear, which stresses you out with extra pressure. It means you’d do anything you can to sell out. It means you’re insecure about who you are and need money to prove your value to the world.
But here’s how I actually view money based on my depression, creative dreams, and distrust in tradition.
Ultimately, I view money as time, a tool for bettering yourself as long as you’re intrinsically motivated about it, and freedom from being controlled by others.
Being rich to me isn’t about making six figures a year or being able to afford a fancy dinner every weekday.
I know that based on my personal spending and priorities, I can live well on just $30,000 and build a fulfilling lifestyle on less, while my peers who are earning $90,000 in their high tech or corporate business jobs complain about being broke because of their lifestyle.
Not everyone obviously, but lifestyle inflation is a trap that gets to people who have a false sense of security just because of their job title, rank, and salary.
I save as much as I can. I haven’t bought new clothing for four months and quarantine has made it clear that I need way less clothing than I think.
I still dress like a high-schooler most days because I’ve always felt like I am not suited for super formal business clothes (and according to my mother, I have not changed much since I graduated from high school).
I don’t have much of a social life so there’s no reason for me to go to brunch with people. For fun, I spend on music and books. I used to spend on high quality journals, but now I’m making use of many $1 composition books I haven’t used yet. I don’t even have a Netflix subscription.
As someone who’s still battling depression, I know that I would absolutely be crushed in a cutthroat environment that’s a bad cultural fit. And spending on unnecessary things makes me fear for the future — that if I don’t have enough saved up, I would have to take that kind of job out of necessity.
As someone who has creative dreams, I’ve always gravitated towards day jobs that don’t require much mental exertion and isn’t that demanding compared to most jobs my peers have, so that I can save the rest of my mental energy for creative pursuits.
As someone who is all about delaying gratification and using money in a way that would benefit my future self, I view impulse buys as hurting my future self and robbing her of both security and creative opportunities.
As someone who is individualistic and hates being forced to adhere to tradition and conventional norms, I know that I’d like to work for myself someday and not just with writing, but with an actual business that balances the analytical with the creative. I also want to keep doing creative passion projects on the side for inner fulfillment, for as long as I live.
Originally published on medium
Poet and writer.