Meaning and Money

An Impactful Family
  • Max the Lifestyle Designer hustles all sorts of money-making schemes from vitamin selling to Internet marketing to ensure financial stability, who will ironically face an meaning crisis.
  • Meanwhile Molly the Artisan steeps herself deep in the art of making homebrew coffee or dances her heart out, following her fulfilling passion yet struggles to pay the skyhigh rent.
  • Maya the Millennials, the archetype who make up the bulk of young people living in the bi-coastal areas of America who are struggling for both sustainable finance and meaningful purpose.

Meaningful money

Somehow, there is always an implicit preference of meaning over money, almost as if money is a meaningless instrumental object to get you something else more meaningful, like “human connection” or “beautiful moments” etc…

This note is really rare!

“Inside as gift, outside as object”

Whenever I visit home and go to grandmom’s house for dinner, she will always find a surreptitious moment to push into my hand some money from her selling clothes at the local outdoor market. She will even exchange it into US Dollar so I can bring abroad. I’ll tell her I don’t need the money, but she will keep pushing it into my hands and say “Then give it to your mom”. I will give it to my mom indeed. Then next week my mom would buy food and flowers to bring to grandmom’s, or she will use the money for ancestor worship and the like.

Embodied money

Another reliable method to re-infuse meaning way to anything too abstract is to embody it. When it comes to money, the physical note is a good place to start.

Towards a financial sensibility.

The point here is that neither is “better” than other. In fact, in order to become well-versed in different money cultures, I may need to do fewer quickies, more one night stands and maybe different kinds of intimate fun(d) exchanges. From those experiences, I may then develop my own unique taste or money. This is not about financial literacy of investing and 401k but rather a financial sensibility of what money means and how each exchange feels like.

Playful money

What if this equation of money = business = serious isn’t always true?

Can more people play with money without going to casino? For another example, I just charged a friend $2 for a 30' massage. Apparently, I didn’t intend to find the optimal pricing strategy where relationship is least affected for the monetary gains. Instead, we framed it a play with money to see how each of us felt. We were both happy with the experience of massage and money.



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Khuyen Bui

Khuyen Bui

I write to 1) con-fuse, or “mingle together” stories & storytellers 2) surprise myself 3) make meaningful distinctions.