Growing up, I had a love/hate relationship with money. I was entrepreneurial and loved generating income, but I was always in some kind of dire and dramatic financial crisis.
Constant overdrafts on my bank account, cyclical feelings of remorse and guilt after excessive shopping trips, the consequent and all-too-familiar knotting in my stomach thinking I might not have enough to last me until my next paycheck.
By the time I got my first real job at 14, I already had all these negative and scary feelings around wealth. Or my lack of it.
And my anxieties would only grow. I believed that admitting my bad credit score was like proclaiming to the world that I had some kind of private and incurable disease. It was shameful. Embarrassing. No one would want to be friends with someone in debt. The excessive baggage. I avoided money and finance topics at all cost.
Fundamentally, something was very wrong with the way I was valuing my money and myself.
It wasn't until I starting reading books by authors like Suzie Orman and Kate Northrup that I began to recognize the unhealthy patterns I was creating in my life. I began to define my flawed relationship with money, like a bad boyfriend. I could identify the crippling effects of past experiences on my current finances. I began to face those deep fears and anxieties I had about not having (or being) enough.
I started to replace those negative limitations with positive affirmations:
I have enough.
I am provided for.
I am successful.
I am powerful.
Now, having spent over half of my twenties choosing to live below the poverty line, first in Africa and now in the northeastern US, the idea to create a place to share the lessons I've learned on how to live a rich life with less has finally come to fruition.
This project is more than a blog, it's a paradigm shift. And we all need that shift. High unemployment and changing job markets create a universal need for us all to be more creative, entrepreneurial, and resourceful. This is a space to enable people to define and achieve their own personal wealth.
The practice of packing light.
If I had to move across the world tomorrow, I could. I can literally fit everything I own into one suitcase, including my last paycheck in cash. And I would still have plenty of room. Despite living so minimally, I can say without a doubt that I am truly living the rich life.
How can my life possibly be rich, owning and earning so little?
Everyone has their own definition of wealth. To some, wealth is the presence of money, and lots of it. To others it’s the absence of debt. To many, wealth is immeasurable, a vague concept. Like happiness, health, family, fame, status, success.
To me, The Rich Life is built around the belief that less is more.
Leading The Rich Life does not necessarily mean leading The Perfect Life. It does not equate to immunity from bad days, ungrateful days, ugly days, living-on-the-last-dollar days. And it does not necessarily rid you from living paycheck to paycheck.
The Rich Life is not a social experiment. It is not a catchy charity campaign. It is not a trendy or novel concept.
Rather, it is the daily committed practice of intentional unpacking. Letting go of assumptions about what it means to be wealthy or successful. Letting go of the importance placed purely on material wants. Letting go of the people and places that weigh you down and devalue your worth.
It won't be easy, and it won't be perfect. But I'm on this journey of enLIGHTenment, and I want you to join me. Let's stay accountable to leading rich lives, together.
In love and lightness,