Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rich vs. poor

Its funny, since I've been in Cozumel I have not missed my NY salary. Now, by New York standards I was not wealthy by any means, but if I was careful with my money I could go on nice vacations/ holidays several times a year. I could afford to buy myself nice clothes. If there was something I wanted I could usually buy it and pay for it later without too much to worry about. I could eat out with friends whenever I wanted, buy nice birthday and Christmas gifts for friends. I earned more than anyone in my family and most of my friends in the UK: I guess its not that nice that that meant something to me - but it was somewhat of an accomplishment. I'd set out to do well in business and I had. BUT I became very disallusioned (not sure how the heck you spell that word) with wealth. I found wealthy people to be not at all content. I found myself reading books on Buddhism and the connection between mental anguish and the material world - always needing to be better, richer, have more possessions is not good for the soul - I agreed with this.
When I left New York part of what I was making a conscious decision to leave was the materialism of the city as well as my healthy New York salary. Its funny, yesterday was the first day I had anything like a pang for my wealthier past. My friend's Christine and Cat are coming down for New Year and its suddenly struck me I could look online for clothes and have them shipped to Christine for her to bring down. Suddenly I was crazed by the urge to spend ridiculous amounts of money on clothes as I trawled through Banana Republic, J Crew and French Connection's web sites. Then I realized that my Abercrombie sweat shirt had not made it to Mexico with me. Suddenly I desperately needed THAT sweatshirt. Also that day, I'd had a telephone call with my mother, who is now retired but running an increasingly successful child psychology business. Currently she has two part time jobs (1 & 1/2 days a week) I think which will pay her more money in a week than I make in a month. Don't get me wrong - I'm really proud of my mother and not jealous so much as feel like as my parents get older I should be the wealthier one so that, if I need to look after them one day, I am able to. Well that, and again I guess, a pride thing.
I also got an e-mail from my friend Lisa telling me her kids would miss me at Christmas time and it reminded me of how I would love to get them nice Christmas gifts. My mum also told me that she and my aunt had talked about how they would miss my gifts this year (I guess I'm the only one who buys them girly gifts - from NY too - which was nice for them). All of these things just hit me, as things I missed, a little yesterday.
Its funny though - I earned good money today and yesterday at work (we work only on commission so it varies) and really since I've been here money has been fine.
I don't really recall wanting to do something but not being able to because I didn't have enough money. Most of what I do here does not cost a lot. It is bound to be a little difficult for me when I see Christine and Cat who are living my old kind of lifestyle, but on the whole I think I have gained more than I have given up. There is no need for me to feel like I have to spend money and go out to dinner every night. Cat has already told me that she wants to have a really relaxing time and have a detox and I know Christine understands and respects what I am doing. Its me hankering after my old ways that worries me, not Cat and Christine. I guess its a bit like being an alcoholic in a bar. But really, who needs a bunch of new clothes, or to eat and drink tons! I have to admit that I recently spent $20 on two Clarins lip glosses which is not really in keeping with my new lifestyle - but I do like to buy myself little presents from time to time.
In summation - I'd say I had a little panic attack about not being wealthy anymore and then decided all is fine. I have no debt, money in the bank, air miles to fly to New York, a brother who works for BA and can get me free flights home and a pretty darn good lifestyle down here. If my parents get sick I have time to go home and be with them, and they don't need money. I have not been stressed since I arrived and smile everyday on the way to work. Right now I'm off to meditation to work on my manipura chakra. Life is good - but I may have to re-read some of the Dali Lama's books to calm my little material desires.


Jose said...

The way I see it... It is your friend's duty to take your poor little self out to dinner. I know I will. It's The Law!!

Anna said...

Thanks Jose:) BUT I'm also trying to be a little more simplistic in my habits - sandwiches on the beach???