Three months of working life have forced me to confront and challenge my perceptions of money. Whereas in school I only had to verbalise my belief, in the real world I have had to fight and defend it. What had slipped so easily off the tongue has turned out to be incredibly difficult to uphold.
The power of money lies in its ability to become almost everything. If you have enough of it, it can become a Ferrari, or a jet plane, or a house by the beach. And because money is the only quantifiable measure of the unseen qualities of objects, experiences, and even people, it becomes the de facto barometer of value.
With that power comes the ability to define. We can omit every single detail and let the price tag do the describing for us. A million-dollar car. A two-dollar shirt. Both need no further adjective for our minds to be filled with a fairly accurate idea of the object.
But the weakness of money lies wholly in the almost. I’ll leave it to all the happiness studies and famous quotes and well-worn cliches out there to flesh out the point that money cannot buy everything (a cliche in itself).
And so I stand behind my belief that money is but scraps of paper; it is spending power to buy the things that are not really important.
I guess the hard part wasn’t defining money for what it is. The hard part was - and still is - preventing it from defining me.