Saturday, September 08, 2007

Money

I bought a thing. Several years ago, back when we first had some money. Back when it was a new thing to me, to have money.

I should back up a little, to explain. The Mister and i have this agreement. The amount of money he spends on his cars, and it has been a lot, is the same amount that i get to have to do as i please. That way i don't resent the car money. Now he has a fancy car, and i have a great savings account, which makes me feel safe.

But i bought this thing, and now i am ashamed of it. It is a piece of jewelry. A silly thing. It cost more money than ANYONE should ever spend on jewelry. It is immoral, in my mind. But i was drunk with the money, and i wanted this thing.

Silly girl.

So now i have this thing, and i wore it for a while. But it made me ashamed. How many people could i have helped with this money?

So i put it away. It sat in my closet. And when i thought of it, i was ashamed of myself. I would see it in the drawer, and in my medicine cabinet, and i would feel like a shit.

I used to wish that i would lose it, so i could get the insurance money, (yes, i have it insured, it is valuable,) and do something good with that money.

But i am not okay with insurance fraud. So i treated it casually, and slung it around, and then forgot about it.

Just yesterday i got it out, having found it in a desk drawer. It's pretty. I am wearing it. I feel like wearing a lesson, a valuable lesson.

I can't decide if it's silly not to wear it, or if it makes me too ashamed.

45 comments:

TTQ said...

It can be the start of a great legacy, your daughter can own it after you pass or before..and do as she wishes wear it or lock it up, then she can leave it to her child should she happen to decide with her partner to take that path.

If you don't mind riding in the Mister's fancy car, then you should be able to enjoy wearing the piece without guilt. If you ever need money you could sell it. I always think of jewelry as investment..and history. Like a family plantation you can take every where you go..

urban-urchin said...

i think it's okay to buy a thing now and then- no one will fault you for that. if it's a thing for the sake of a thing- for the mere fact you could buy it and not because you loved loved loved it then maybe it's not for you?

Em said...

Money makes us do crazy things some times...and feel things that just aren't characteristic for us. But the investment value is still there and you can have the jewelry or the money at any time.

jen said...

well, i've never actually had money so i've not been in this situation...but...i know, you can sell it and donate the proceeds!

working said...

I think that you should wear it. Having nice things doesn't preclude you from donating to charity or anything else. Enjoy!

alphawoman said...

Why should we feel ashamned to wear something expensive on our finger and think the money could be better spent....yet on the other hand, we think nothing of driving an expensive car instead of a.....Geo (do they still make them??)They do the same thing, get you from point A to pt. B yet all the money you could save and give away!! Ha hahah! Enjoy your expensive "trinket".

Mrs. Chili said...

Why is it that we feel we can't have nice things AND be good people?

Susanne said...

The best thing about this is that you still think it's pretty. Go and wear it and let it make you happy. It's not like you were spending all your money on shiny things. (On the other hand, it's your money, do like you please.)

Ortizzle said...

Wear it. Nice things that we covet are meant to be enjoyed. Do you enjoy it in the drawer? All you have to do is stop feeling so guilty about it. Look at it this way: it may be very expensive, but if it is your only capricho, you might have spent the same amount of money collectively on dozens of other things over the years that you would tire of or discard or whatever. So enjoy the one thing that you still have.

meno said...

ttq, i don't ever ride in the Mister's fancy car. It's not comfortable. Plus it's loud and embarassing. Anyway, i like the idea of handing it down.

u-u, i don't know what's for me. I think i remember how i was feeling when i bought it. I wouldn't spend the money on it today.

em, it was all new to me then. So it was crazy.

jen, i wouldn't be able to sell it for anything like what i paid for it. That's how retail jewelry works. I've checked.

working, it's the morality of it that bothers me. I have other jewelry, but this one is the most valuable.

alphawoman, yes, but jewelry isn't needed, cars can be.

mrs.chili, it's the wretched excess that bothers me.

suzanne, i am coming around to forgiving myself for being so materialistic. But i'll remember it too.

ortizzle, if it's in the drawer i don't have to think about it. :)

Sober Briquette said...

So...I'm confused. It's pretty. You feel ashamed of it. The lesson is? Not to buy silly things?

Almost all jewelry is frivolous. It's supposed to please you. If it doesn't, then don't wear it. If Em would like to have it one day, then keep it. If she wouldn't care for it, then who cares if you can't get back what you paid for it? Get rid of it and do something that you want to with the money. Donate it to the cat shelter.

Scott from Oregon said...

They are silly, indeed...

Both the fancy cars and the jewelry...

I mean, what are we thinking?

WEll, you may have put a jewelers daughter through college...

Or err... something like that...

Cagey said...

I think to have a few nice pieces of jewelry that are worn regularly is not bad. To have a whole treasureload of jewels sitting in a drawer gathering dust is a bad thing. You do not strike me as the sort of person who hoards jewelry just to have it. You also strike me as the sort of person who is already doing thoughtful deeds for others. I suspect, you really love this thing and genuinely enjoy it, but are having trouble overcoming the guilt. I say, if that is the case, wear the piece and enjoy it. I seriously doubt you purchased the piece to the exclusion of already having been generous to others.

luckyzmom said...

Silly Wabbit, kicks are for trids! I think it is silly not to wear it and silly to be ashamed of having purchased it. Who hasn't made a purchase they regretted for some reason.

amusing said...

I know that feeling. I feel like that about my entire life sometimes. That I even have a car. That I am lucky enough to own a house. That my kids are in private school. I skulk sometimes when I'm in conversation and my life is so much easier than others'. But that's probably not the right thing to do. Enjoy it. Treasure it. Appreciate it. And do what you can to help others because it's the right thing to do. But not at the expense of enjoying your own life.

deb said...

I have a husband who has a thing for cars as well and I like your idea of me getting the same amount of money that he spends on cars.
Can we see jewelry? Please.

Dick said...

Don't feel bad about something you did with good intentions. No one was hurt. It didn't put you behind in your finances. It looks like nothing negative really happened and if you liked the item, then it was probably a good purchase. Don't feel guilty and go ahead and enjoy wearing it to places where it would be appropriate.

Maggie said...

You like conundrums don't you?

I have an idea, could you take it to a jewelers and have it made into other smaller pieces to give as gifts to family for christmas? Or into a set of something that feels less shameful? If not, then I guess I just don't know. Maybe you could have the jewel set into a cat collar and hide it on one of your cats...of course I'm guessing its a jewel for that one to work.

Sally Forth said...

Meno, Do you feel silly because you are guessing at other people's reactions to the piece? Do you feel like it isn't completely the you you are now? Is it because most people couldn't buy the same piece?
Look, Don't worry about what others think. The part that was you when you purchased it is still there. Luxuries aren't rational. They aren't necessities. However, you need to quell the quilt because it isn't productive. Wear it in good health, enjoy your luxuries, love yourself for who you were then and who you are now. Whew! I'm such a windbag!

liv said...

Well, I love the smack out of some bling, so you'll get no sympathy from me. I was once asked where I'd wear the obscenely large diamond bracelet I was given. My answer? To the grocery store. Honestly, if it gives you any pleasure at all, strap the bitch on and go for a stroll. Only living once and all...

be sure to tell Chica that she's betrayed me, and that in her absence I'll be sexin' Patches in her Jeep.

Stucco said...

You won't likely do this sort of thing again I presume? If so, then classify it as a lesson learned and let it be. If you can't get any enjoyment from the thing, give it away to a woman who's lost hair/breasts to cancer. It's tough for them to preserve a feminine identity when they go through that crap, and a "pretty" can make a difference. In that way, the thing can be priceless in a real way.

QT said...

I say wear it. You've earned it in many different ways. Don't feel guilty that you have been fortunate enough to buy something you enjoy. Feel lucky.

Schmoopie said...

I am not able to relate to ever feeling the desire or happiness that would come from buying an expensive piece of jewelry because I don't like wearing jewelry or spending money on it. If it brought you happiness at one point, great! If it doesn't anymore, get rid of it. Do something fun with it with Em or give it away.

I also have never been "drunk with money" so who knows what I would do? I think people have a right to do what they want with their money.

Mother of Invention said...

If you still love it, and it looks good on you, and it's no silier than a fancy car, then wear it. If it still makes you feel stupid and lousy for buying it, then I guess I wouldn't wear it and I'd try to deal it somewhere for the money and do something with the money that makes you feel fabulous.

Airam said...

I felt guilty after having purchased my first expensive gift for myself. But I figure that I help people anyway and do things for others all the time so why not indulge a little for myself? Don't regret it. Wear it and be happy you have it. If you feel that bad then don't get a piece of jewelery. Definitely wear it ... and if it's that expensive then I say you wear it often! That's what made me feel a bit better about buying my gift ... the fact that I'd wear it out. And if it makes you feel better about it, maybe you can turn it into an heirloom to be passed down from generation to generation??

ms chica said...

Tell Liv to make sure she puts the top down. Patches doesn’t need any more tickets for public nudity.

Only you can decide what your comfort level is. You can donate jewelry or pass it down to Em, but it sounds like this isn’t just about the jewelry, but about the person you were then and the person you are now. This is part of the beauty of maturing. We learn things about ourselves, and we recognize change in ourselves. Being introspective (‘cause I know you are) can make us more aware the changes we go through (values, priorities, etc.). Accepting the difference between who we were versus who we are isn’t always easy.

d-man said...

If you decide you don't want this expensive item, give me your address and I'll happily put my ninja skills to use.

Bob said...

sounds to me like middle-class guilt complex. you're embarrassed by it, this bit of conspicuous consumption?

I have a question or two. Do you feel like you earned the largess that came your way? I expect you do. You are retired. Do you feel guilty for not working any more when you are obviously of good health and still have the ability to be productive? I expect not, you earned your living and have done your share of producing. You live in a nice home on a lake. Do you feel guilty for having it when others live in shelters or have no home at all? I expect not, you earned the ability to have it. What I'm driving at is that you are someone who is well off, but are only embarrassed by it when it is conspicuously on display? The fact that you choose to leave your matching funds in savings doesn't preclude the fact that you could afford more baubles. middle-class guilt of having when others don't.

bottom line - if you like the jewelry, keep it and wear it without guilt - you earned the money used to purchase it - just as you did the money for your house and lifestyle. If you cannot get over the concentrated wealth it represents, get rid of it no matter the reduced resale value and then donate the money where you feel you should've in the first place.

it is a bizarre dichotomy that our society teaches us to work hard to make money and simultaneously our puritanical background teaches us that excessive wealth is inherently bad. you can bet the rockefellers and gettys and bushs of the world have resolved it.

emi said...

I'm in the process of making my own decision about a very expensive luxury purchase of my own. Your words, and the comments of others, are helping me! Only, it's not a piece of jewelry I can take off ... it's jewelry I'll have implanted in my chest. It will make me happy - I've spent years thinking it thru - and the hubby spends much more on guitars, so that's justified. But oh, the guilt, with two kids to finance. I was just wondering the day before you posted this... Will I regret it, much like you've regretted your jewelry? And will I blog about it several years from now, trying to find a way to UNregret it? Possibly. Oh, HELP!

peevish said...

Don't keep it if it makes you feel bad. Life is too short for that. Like Jen said, sell it and do something with the proceeds which would make you feel good.

mcewen said...

If you have savings as well, that doesn't sound too bad. Maybe it's a bit like the 'best china.' Some people keep it for best, worry when it's used and don't really enjoy it. Others use it every day. It doesn't seem like a bad way to go, or as my Dad would say 'you're a long time dead.'
Best wishes

Princess in Galoshes said...

Um, what does Emi mean by "jewelry I'll have implanted in my chest"???

Does that sound like a Swarovski encrusted PaceMaker to anyone else??? Please elaborate, Emi.

Meanwhile, Meno, maybe you wouldn't make such an indulgent purchase, now. But it was a one time deal. Enjoy a little bit of frivolity. Life's too short to dwell on our puritanical tendancies and guilt. Enjoy a little bit of luxury, and maybe put in a little extra time at the animal shelter, or something, if you feel you must do something to assuage the guilt. But it's o.k. to feel a little decandent, from time to time.

Of course, this advice comes from someone who NAMED herself Princess. So, you know, grain of salt, and all that.)

emi said...

Princess, once I re-read my quickly worded post, I saw how vague that could sound. I'm talking about a boob job! :) See, it's a luxury item, and could cost as much as Diddy's earrings when you factor in the new wardrobe. It's displayed, and like Meno, there may be times when I wish I could put it in a drawer for a while (especially when I go running). Hope that clears it up...

WNG said...

As I'm sure everyone else has already said you are NOT the conspicuous consumption poster girl and there is NO REASON for you to feel guilty. It is your money to do with as your please. If you really want to get rid of the 'thing' you can donate it to a charity to auction off. But I think that as long as you enjoy the 'things' beauty your money was not wasted.

Melanie said...

Okay, i didn't read all the comments. they look pretty lengthy. My only advice is, look at this thing, without all the stigma, and associations. How does it make you feel? I mean its pretty. I love pretty. Don't let the other stuff overshadow the pretty.

and if its bothering you that much, look at it as a college fund for one of the offspring. Enjoy it while you can, then sell it to the next person who wants to look at the "precious".

nuff preachin.

Marsha said...

Whatever you decide I think you are a nice person, either way.

Sienna said...

When I see something I like, or think is really pretty Meno, it inspires me to achieve it for myself...

Some people have the most beautiful horseflesh that has ever been bred and I look at that and say ...well I am determined to achieve such good work, not always necessarily the most $$$ train of genetics, but learning and achieving..

Sometimes I see beautiful jewellrey and think yeah!, top stuff, good on them and waaaay nice taste they have, I aspire to get me one of those....that's a good thing, my opinion...

My motivation isn't a mines bigger/better than yours, it is...oh what a thing of beauty (remembering it could be a photo, an animal, an act, a piece of jewellrey, a pavlova)! Appreciation of the creation of the object? and a desire for me to create/build/breed the best that I can do too...

I love that some people have adorable stuff (each a personal thing-beauty in the eye of the beholder of course)...but stuff and things that I might aspire too, dreams, aspirations and what people perceive to be beautiful to them is good, it creats good feelings in people....I hope you take all the good feelings associated with whatever it is that you wear and wear with pride; you to me, are an amazing person...you always sound like you care so much about everything and people....if it knocks your socks off Meno go for it!!

Pam

Tink said...

How can I decide if you don't post a picture? We all buy silly things at least once in our lives. I once bought an expensive down comforter. The damn thing cost a fortune. Do you know how many times I used it? Twice. I live in FLORIDA. I nearly sweat to death sleeping on top of it.

Oh, The Joys said...

I so understand this. I don't have the answer, but I totally appreciate the sentiment.

meno said...

de, The lesson, for me, is to buy silly things, but not spend what i now consider to be an immoral amount of money on them. Silly is essential, but wretched excess is not.

scott, i will take comfort in that thought, about the jeweler's daughter.

cagey, the nice jewelry that i have, i wear all the time. To bed, in the swimming pool, cleaning cat cages.... I don't have a lot of it, but what i have, i wear.

luckyzmom, good point! Who indeed?

amusing, you are quite the thoughtful person. Perfect.

deb, it has saved us from much resentment, the equal amount thing. If you want the details of how it works, send me an e-mail.

dick, appropriate and i are not too well aquainted. :) But you are right.

maggie, i don't know if i LIKE them, but i do seem to find them. Heh heh, that cat's collar. Tee hee. I like it.

sally, no, that is not it. It's really fairly inconspicuous, believe it or not. You have excellent advice, and you are most surely not a windbag.

liv, when i do wear it, i wear it everywhere. Sexin' a neutered cat? Hope you don't get any hair in yer teeth.

stucco, no, i wouldn't do it again. And your suggestion is quite a lovely one. i will keep it in mind.

qt, i am lucky. and i work hard. and i'm lucky.

schmoopie, i suppose you are right. I mean of course i have the right to do what i want with my money, but such selfishness is not how i wish to see myself. But it is a part of me, and this thing makes me see it. It's a good reminder.

moi, hell YES it looks good on me! :)

airam, you make a good point. You so smart!

ms. chica, top up, top UP! yes, you hit on the head. It's about seeing who i was then, and not liking the view.

d-man, you are so fucking kind that i want to weep.

bob, yep. Some of the largesse is earned, and some of it really is luck. We would not have had the luck without the work. You have a great way of getting to the correct analysis. Thank you.

emi, i cannot help you, i wish i could. I guess you have to ask if this purchase will supplant the purchase of something else that is necessary for you or your family. If not, do what you will. And thank you for clearing up what you were referring to. I was puzzled.

peevish, i will do that, if i can't enjoy it.

mcewen, "a long time dead" that's a good thing to remember. Smart dad.

princess, you are a wise princess. You will rule Norway well.

wng, you are right. i do think it's pretty. So, for now, i will keep it.

melanie, it is pretty, and fairly understated.

marsha, you are sweet, thank you.

pam, there's not much i want for myself anymore. I have a plentitude. And i REALLY don't want a horse. But i really understand what you are saying.

tink, a down comforter? In Florida? You know, i LOVE good bedding. i don't know if i could have resisted either.

otj, why, thank you for that. I feel heard, and that i what we all like to feel.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I was going to suggest that you sell it and use the money to help all those people, but maybe you should save it for Em. It could be her nest egg, and that would be a wonderful use for it.

Still, you didn't hurt anyone to buy it. Your family was not deprived of any necessities. Not having to worry about money is a great blessing. You must be deserving of it, so you have no reason to feel guilty. If you love it, enjoy wearing it.

Lee said...

Eh, money is only money. And jewelry is only jewelry. If the money just sat in the bank, it would be the same as the jewelry sitting in a drawer. Take what joy you can get, whether it be in a beautiful earth-hewn stone or a flower. The joy is the same.

egan said...

Wow, that really is a tough one. I love that you have thought out all the scenarios in your head and shared them. I'm really torn on this one.

crazymumma said...

I think it is OK to have a thing, a ridiculous thing in your life.

Everyone has one. And you are lucky to be able to afford it.

Rest easy on it and enjoy its prettiness.

DDM said...

I think you should wear it.