Just So You Know, Money Doesn’t Define Your Happiness


I’ve never agreed with the phrase, money is the root of all evil, because I don’t think it’s necessarily true. Sure, money can lead to terrible things sometimes. But money can also be wonderful. Money can pay for the flight across the country to see a significant other, it can put a meal on a starving family’s table, it can buy a present for an underprivileged child across the world, or it can be a night spent with friends that you’ll never forget.

Money isn’t the root of all evil. Obsession with money is the root of all evil.

We’ve all been obsessed with money at some point, or maybe we’re still struggling with this (that’s okay, it’s definitely a part of life). And it’s hard, because money is what allows us to do things with people we care about, it’s what helps us stay healthy (think food, health insurance, hospital bills, etc.) and it’s what’s centered in our educations, our jobs, and our ‘purposes’ in life.

If you aren’t making money, you’re seen as struggling. And in some ways you are, because without those little green bills in your wallet, how are you supporting yourself or your loved ones?

But the problem with money is not that it’s central to our lives, because that’s just the way it is.

The problem is that we become obsessed with money. We let it take over our lives, and we let it control our decisions.

We become obsessed with making it, keeping it, or saving it.
Or we restrict ourselves from spending it because it has become sacred.

Sometimes it even gets to the point where we don’t do things with people because we’re scared of spending our money, or ‘wasting’ it on purposeless things.

This hits 20-somethings the most, I think. We’re at the stage of college/post-college and we’re ballin’ on a budget. We don’t have money to spend (or we do, we just don’t want to spend it recklessly) and so we become obsessed with money in a different way. We hoard it, and we become slaves to it, restricting ourselves because we’re too afraid to spend it.

F*ck that.

Life is about sharing memories and laughter with others. It’s about enjoying yourself, it’s about discovering who you are, being with those you care about, falling in love, figuring out your purpose, being productive (aka: job), and having fun.

It’s not about making money, though that’s basically essential to your survival. And it’s not about saving every single penny, even though it’s still good to save some.

You can’t always be that person who’s too afraid to spend.

You can’t be that one friend who never goes out because he/she doesn’t want to ‘waste’ the cash he/she’s earned. Life’s too short to save every penny, to keep yourself from having fun because you’re a slave to the coins in your pocket.

You don’t want to be dumb about spending, but you need to realize that you’ll never remember the dollar amount associated to a good time. But you’ll hang onto those memories forever.

See, that’s the thing about life and about money. They both come and go. But in twenty years, you won’t remember how much that prom dress cost—you’ll remember how you kissed your date in the middle of the dance floor with the lights swirling all around you. You won’t remember how the money your family put into your grandfather’s funeral—you’ll remember all the wonderful Sunday mornings playing cards with him on the back porch.

And you won’t remember that you drunkenly spent $50 on drinks on a Saturday night—you’ll remember the ugly bathroom selfies with your best friends and dancing until the sun came up.

That’s the beautiful thing about life—it’s filled with so many wonderful moments. But we can’t restrict ourselves from them just because of money.

It’s unfortunate that money makes our world turn, but that’s just how things are. We need money to feed us, to clothe us, to help make our lives purposeful.

But we don’t need money to define us. Or to define how much fun we can have.

So please, buy that impulsive flight across the country to tell that ex-girlfriend you can’t stop thinking about her, travel the world even if it might break your bank for a little while, spend money on experiences and gifts for those you love, and buy those stupid tequila shots that you’ll regret in the morning.

Because life’s too short to let money stop you from enjoying your days.
And honestly, in twenty years, $50 at the bar is fleeting.
But those Snapchat selfies—priceless. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Marisa is a writer, poet, & editor. She is the author of Somewhere On A Highway, a poetry collection on self-discovery, growth, love, loss and the challenges of becoming.

Keep up with Marisa on Instagram, Twitter, Amazon and marisadonnelly.com

More From Thought Catalog