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"I learned it by watching {not listening} to you."

If there is one thing I wish I had put my “listening ears” on for during the first two decades of my life, it was any lessons that may have come my way regarding money.  Sadly, whenever the topic of general financial responsibilities came up, I was suddenly plagued with temporary hearing loss.  Faced with the brutal reality that I am an adult now, I find myself obsessing over my quasi dysfunctional relationship with money.
I am now, facing my {very} early Thirties.  Many questions create a hard knot in my stomach.  “Can I save enough for retirement? Will I EVER own a home?  What on earth is a REAL budget?   The scariest thought of them all, is the one that creeps deep into my mind, and buries itself like a leech  “Is it too late to change my financial habits?”
Thinking back on life as a child and young adult, I watched both of parents have a dysfunctional relationship with money.  To my father, money is status, and how you say “I love you”, “I’m sorry”, or, “Shut up”{read: a check in the mail is a great way to ensure you can make it another few months without having to actually physically see your loved ones}.  Although he may complain he never has enough of it, money is not something he lacks.  I learned from my Mother, that money can cause one of two emotions: elation or despair.  I watched as she lived paycheck to paycheck, in a constant state of terror and {slight annoyance} that all the bills wouldn’t get paid.  Oddly enough, whenever she would be in a position of financial stability, she often made poor choices {a vacation, new clothes, or buying things for us, that in retrospect we never REALLY needed}.  My mother lived and continue to live as a slave to her finances.  Neither one of my parents ever sat down, explained budgeting, check books, credit cards, or retirement planning to me.  Conversations that we had regarding money never offered wisdom or advice. More often, I was the sounding board for financial woes.
I find myself repeating thier patterns. Money causing me elation or complete anxiety.  Is it possible to reverse these patterns of behavior by observing their actions in regards to money and learning from those mistakes.  Can I become a financially responsible adult, who budgets, buys a home, and someday pays off ALL her student loan debt?  Let’s hope so.
So, I have decided that the horror of  my student loan statements are not a valid reason to commit suicide.  Although it may seem easier, to make excuses, avoid my finances, or simply give up, insteed  I  have to SUCK IT UP.  I need to stop whining and take responsibility for myself and my finances.
I have to break the cycle. I have a responsibility to myself.  Besides,  in their old age who else is going to someday financially support my parents? The government?

One response to “"I learned it by watching {not listening} to you."”

  1. Jason Jason says:

    Monstrously big kudos for the reference in your title. Dying

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December 2010
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On My Honor
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Witch Hunt
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If, Then.
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Small Crimes
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"It's Complicated"
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