September 16, 2016

This Is Why Having More Money Just Brings New Problems

Report This Article
What is the issue?
Alexandre Chambon
Alexandre Chambon

I am renting a small beach casita on the beach in Encinitas.

The rent is $1950 USD a month. For most of my life I have only been able to afford $450-750 CAD dollars in rent.

My business has only starved thriving since this past year.

For my last 7 years visiting Costa Rica I always took 3 chicken buses, one ferry and one taxicab, total length = 12 hours to get to Santa Teresa.

There is an air-conditioned shuttle that costs $50 from the airport and takes 4 hours.

I stayed in dorm rooms filled with drunk Argentinians who party till 3 am on spring break for the last 5-6 years of my stay for $12 a night.

The last time I was in Costa Rica in January I was able to rent my own place with a roommate.

It was a shared wooden cabana flat a few blocks from the beach with a Swedish girl who was a graphic designer. It didn’t have a roof and I was bitten by mosquitoes every night. Our landlady was in a constant state of being miserable, her husband was sweet–we didn’t know how they stayed married. There was a large rat that moved in and stayed despite our biggest efforts. We worked with jungle Wi-Fi, woke up with mosquito bites, surfed everyday and drank cold pipas.

It was the first time I had enough money to get my own space in CR.

It wasn’t luxurious, but it was the first time I invested in my own space and self.

In March I bought a ticket home from where I was living in Costa Rica, I booked the cheapest, longest ticket and a hostel in San Jose the night before I flew out.

As I checked into the hostel I forgot I actually had enough money for the first time in my life to get a hotel if I wanted.

When you’ve had a lifetime of being broke, and being broke becomes your context making money is actually hard.

It becomes uncomfortable.

You have to retrain your brain that spending money is okay, and it doesn’t make you a soulless shell of a human.

After I got home from Costa Rica I went shopping for things like shoes (my boots blew out) underwear, a bra that actually fit my petite rib cage and wouldn’t fall down when I exhaled. A durable travel bag as I had been borrowing my mom’s kayak bags and was constantly on airplanes. Some clothing for a public speaking gig and workshop I was attending.

I got to the cash register and it was $989.00.

I froze.

I left all the things and went in my car and had a mini break down of whether it was morally okay I spent that kind of money on me.

Should I be mailing a check to The Global Alliance for Animals and People, a non profit I help support?

Did I really need a bra, and a blazer?

Was I just buying useless “things”?

Had I become shallow and materialistic?

My “unworthy” and “undeserving” reared its ugly head at me in the passenger seat and asked, “Who the hell are you to spend $980 dollars on yourself?”

I went back the next day and bought everything.

It was hard, and didn’t feel easy but I did it anyway.

When I walked in my boots that were resoled and felt the support on my feet I realized that what spending the money on was just self love, and that after so long of rejecting self love–it had felt “wrong” to love myself in this way.

Spending money on myself has slowly gotten easier, slowly.

I was on a two week trip down California this spring with a couple I met hosting a workshop at a yoga studio in Seattle.

We stayed at the Marriott or one of those fancy type hotels.

I remember coming down to get a toothbrush in a crinkled shirt before a call with my coach and seeing men with combed perfect hair and crisp suits and feeling completely out of place in a long Shakti dress that smelled like India.

I had an entire call with my coach that morning where I voiced all my insecurities with both making money, spending money and what would happen to my art when I wasn’t the woman walking around with bear mace chopping wood in my cabin.

We think that once we have money are problems will go away–in actuality we just create more problems.

I am dating a man who lives in Austin, Texas and he voiced wanting me there for a wake surf competition this weekend. I decided fairly last minute to book a ticket to see him.

Last minute tickets aren’t cheap.

It was over a $1000 dollars to fly direct when it can be as low as $300 USD.

I sat at the screen hesitating on the purchase ticket button for about 2 hours.

I almost didn’t go.

Not only was I spending money on myself, but I was also receiving his money to buy half the ticket.

I am still not used to spending money on me.

I am not used to waking up in my beach casita that overlooks the orange and red tainted sand dunes of Encinitas and walking three steps to check the surf.

I am not used to hitting an automatic lock button on my Jeep Wrangler as I go for my morning surf–I am used to manual locks on the one and only car I have ever drove.

The gardener who tends to the property I live on speaks zero English. I always make sure to come outside and hash out small conversations in my broken Spanish with him.

Today I brought him a coffee and we stood in my yard talking about his family in Mexico, how his mother and father passed away 2 years ago. He asked how long I was staying in the house and I replied till November.

I wondered what he thought of me in my robe, working on my computer every morning he comes by.

I am terrified of being someone who is so busy or so successful they don’t take time to acknowledge the people who aren’t inherently “important” in their days.

Maybe that’s partially why I make him coffee.

Maybe it’s because I am kind.

I know that 9 months into no chicken buses and hotel rooms and direct flights and beach casitas and an assistant I still struggle receiving the support I have built from my business for three years.

I do know that having money does not solve all the problems, it just creates an opportunity for different ones. TC mark

Read This