College Connect Spring 2019: The Blue and Red Fibers of Financial Happiness and Despair

By Mara Friedman

Money is a funny thing. It is the only thing (other than your parents) that can be your best friend or a great nightmare. The blue and red fibers woven between its cotton may hold both happiness and despair. My life has been that blue fiber. I have been tangled up inside due to the money-making process.

My life made a complete 360-degree turn in my teenage years when I found out that my immediate family was rich. It didn’t turn around the way you may think it would have, however. I found out that my dad had stashes of horse-racing money hidden around the house to use for someone who wasn’t me, my mom, or my siblings. Yes, my immediate family was rich in wealth, but we were lacking something so much greater.

After years of living in a cold room with a broken light on top of my falling apart garage, I felt betrayed by my father. At this point, I didn’t even care that my dad had cheated on my mom. I was upset at the fact that I went my entire life living in what I thought was a worse value of life.

Business Dictionary defines the value of life as “the monetary worth of something in areas such as accounting, economics, marketing, or mathematics.”A lot of peopleseem to believe their life’s worth is dependent on money. The definition fails to mention anything about life fulfillment or happiness.

It took me years of living on Costco snacks at my mom’s house to “get the memo.”

When I was a freshman in high school, every Wednesday I would leave my cold room and chewy bars to go to a mandatory country club for a wine-and-dine date with my dad. We’d take a casual pit-stop to the Lululemon store, or if I was lucky, my dad would nonchalantly hand me a $100 bill. I would always return home the next day with a stomach full of food, but also topped off with anxiety and distress.

Meanwhile, my childhood house that my mom lived in wasn’t all glitz and glamour, but it sure as hell was home. While on one hand my mom couldn’t afford to buy meat, she would still cook my siblings and me home-made dinners and drive us where we needed to go.

When I was home, I was comfortable. I definitely wasn’t wined and dined, but I also wasn’t neglected, guilt-tripped, or had the fear of walking in on something that I didn’t want to see.

While some people can be bought, the morals that my mom engrained into me didn’t enable the transaction.

Yes, it will always bother me that I could’ve had more material growing up, however, material is just anything excess to my necessities.

As I said before, money is a funny thing. However, it is just a thing. Its abundance can drive people like my dad into manipulation and envy, or the lack of its excess can drive people like me into ease and comfort.

While I am satisfied with my financial state, I remain that blue fiber. I may be less tangled in money physically, but I will always be in a quandary with plenty of relationships due to it.

Mara Friedman is a journalism student at Arizona State University.


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