Why money is now an essential goal to me
I think I have never hesitated that much before writing an article here on Medium.
Once the words are written, they can’t be taken back.
You guys went the rollercoaster with me. You had to put up with the depressed-me, the working-hard-and-doing-my-best-to-find-back-my-self-esteem me, the selfish-me, the dreamy-me, the go-getter-me, and so many other Mes.
You guys were there when I finally accepted I was dead, that the life of the person I worked hard to become was dead, the fighter, the go-getter, the successful-me. You were there when I was doing my best to ajust, scared to let go of everything that other me, that past me dreamt of.
I went through depression for a couple of months. Maybe more. It was so fucking hard to see myself not being able to leave my bed because I was at the lowest point in my life. It was excruciating. But on the other hand I felt like climaxing everytime I was assessing my miserable situation. Let me tell you why, my people. Because every time a big change is about to happen in my life, I have to go through extreme depression first.
I told you guys I don’t fear anything more than change in this world. To live a better life, no matter why or how, one has to go through change. Each time I experienced change in my life, it was quite radical. First I went from a sad woman with a low self-esteem to a woman doing everything to live her best life. What I did. It took a lot. Then I decided to give up everything, my job and all for an internship to be able to work in the field I wanted to, a field I knew nothing about. I did. Then after being appointed at one of the top positions of the company I was working for, after actually reaching my goal, I decided to give up everything to live my dream, developping Elle Citoyenne. I did. Then I got lost, not knowing what I wanted. Then depression. And the death of the old me.
Actually I knew what I wanted. But achieving that goal meant blowing off my bubble, everything I worked so hard to get. It meant giving up my dream of making Elle Citoyenne the best civic media ever. And that was hard to swallow. It meant starting all over once more. For the 4th time in about three years.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved each of these lives. Each of them. Good and bad. I learned so much from them, met amazing people, did amazing things, visited so many countries. But a new one has to start. A new one directly linked to my one and only new year resolution: enter my adult life.
I’ll be 32 in a few months.
But I am still not an adult. For many reasons I don’t want to list here tonight. They are still too private to be disclosed. Yes, I know, I am supposed to tell you guys everything. And I will. But in due time.
To tell you guys the truth, when I took that resolution at the beginning of the year, I did not know what I was doing. I was tired of my life in general, but I did not know exactly what was going wrong. So I decided to take better care of myself, to provide for myself and be there for myself. Like really. I felt like I was failing myself in many ways. But did not know how. So I got depressed.
Then I listened to an episode of the podcast Nouvelle Ecole. Fibre Tigre was the one invited. I never heard of the guy. He is in his mid-forties. At some point he said “I am still living like a teen-ager”, then he said why. And I so felt him, recognizing myself in so many things he was saying. For the first time since I took the decision to enter my adult life, I got what it meant, I realized what was going wrong and what I had to do about it.
I was care free. Not working. Not earning any money. Living my dream to the fullest. Until the dream was not enough anymore for me to feel fulfilled. It was enough for two years. It is not anymore. I said it once here on Medium. I want to be able to provide for myself, to provide for my needs and those of my loved ones. Isn’t it what adults do? That’s what I want to do. Now.
What does all this mean? What do I have to do concretely to enter my adult life?
The first and most important step is to care about money.
I despise money. I hate how it corrupt people and things. That’s the reason why I did not want to earn any money from Elle Citoyenne.
For three years I fought to never have to think about money. After leaving my job exactly a year ago, I worked for the minimum required. It meant working like a week every two months, just to gather enough money not to starve. Truth is even when I had a job I did not care about money. That’s the reason why I did not save a dime before shutting the door. All I did was making sure I had a new laptop and a new phone to be able to carry out my activities.
I worked full time on a media for a year, refusing to earn money from that activity for it not to be corrupted. I talked about that ad nauseam here on Medium. I loved it. And still do. I had great plans for it. And it was working. It’s when I reached the point where I started needing money to move forward with that initiative that I started asking myself some questions. I started realizing I was not taking things the right way.
In French we say “Tout travail mérite salaire”. I work hard to the point that I am sometimes sick because of lack of sleep. Information. I work so hard fo people to access the right information the right way. I read so many books and do so many MOOCs to be on point in what I do. I love what I do. What I did not realized is it became a job. It was not only a dream anymore. It became my main activity, my area of expertise, the reason why people turn to me when they need anything related tto citizen participation/action or media, information.
For years I gathered knowledge and acquired several skills. I read tons of books and had so many experiences allowing me to test and refine these knowledge and skills. I became good, better and best in what I do in so many ways.
I went from conference to conference sharing my knowledge and experience for free. I participated to so many lucrative projects for free, just because I trusted or had a soft spot for the cause. I worked hard, for people, for free. I did things out of friendship for people who went behind my back and get paid for the work I did for them. I wrote articles for top media for free, despite the sleepless nights and extensive research they required.
All this because I thought I did not need money. But also because I thought I was not legitimate enough to ask for money since I did not acquire theses skills in a formal institution. Though I dedicated three years of my life to them. In many ways.
For years I gave my everything for free. It stops now.
On the other hand I am tired to work to change the world. It may sound selfish but I don’t give a damn. I am selfish and self-centered. You guys know it. I jeopardized my freedom, even my life sometimes, to fight for the freedom of the masses, to be the voice of the voiceless. For several reasons, I don’t want to do it anymore. At least for a few years. The reasons will be for another post.
The past three years I took care of myself mentally, putting my happiness, my mental state first, all the time. And it worked. But now my physical environment is affecting my mental state. I want to stop dedicating myself to others and focus on my own well-being.
It does not mean I am abandonning everything. It just means being there for everyone every time is not my priority anymore. I am my priority. I need to value myself and what I am capable of. And it means GETTING PAID FOR EACH AND EVERY WORK I DO. Period!
I don’t regret any of this. Now I know what I am capable of. I know the quality of my work. And why I should be paid for it. Always. Just as an adult, the adult I am working hard to become.
I want to be happy again. Happiness takes many forms. It took the form of a new field of expertise, a new job, trips around the continent, a top civic media, even an empty bank account. I am embracing it’s new form. To the fullest. I want to be happy again. And I am, since I started takin “grown-up decisions” for myself, like valuing my work. Or saving money for myself, but also for my many initiatives.
It’s late and I am tired. I think I said the gist of what I wanted to share tonight. I will do my best to come around more often. But first, I need to help my bank account grow.
Hello, my name is Befoune and I need money to be happy. Clap if you enjoyed reading this text. And clap even if it is not the case. I need you to cheer me. For real.