Two things have been on my mind: lyrics and a dear friend. Both have to do with questions of money, fulfillment, and our search for purpose, meaning, and happiness.
Some lyrics from the song Soon Forget
Say what you want about Pearl Jam over the last 10 years, whatever the music has been, Eddie Vedder is always spot on with lyrics.
Sorry is the fool who trades his soul for a corvette.
Thinks he’ll get the girl he’ll only get the mechanic.
What’s missing? He’s living a day he’ll soon forget.
Sorry is the fool who trades his love for hi-rise rent.
Seem the more you make equals the loneliness you get.
And it’s fitting. He’s barely living a day he’ll soon forget.
Misguided perseverance is not a virtue
A friend recently said this to me about another friend of ours:
“He’s able to keep doing things he hates for a long time to make the money. I totally respect that.”
We were talking about a friend of ours who has been at a job he hates for years. Years…There don’t seem to be any changes on the horizon, but the money is pretty good and the mortgage must be paid.
Perseverance is admirable and necessary if you’re going to tackle big goals. I believe it’s a curse if you don’t have a destination in mind. I’m not going to cross Aerosmith and say that life’s a destination and not a journey, but we have to have some sort of plan to start with, right? I mean, we all spend our fair share of time with our nose to the grindstone.
I’m sure as hell not going to spend years on the wrong grindstone. Suppose I’m good at doing things I hate for years. Years! You know what will eventually happen? I’ll die and they’ll write on my tombstone:
He spent most of his time on earth doing things he’d rather not have
Let’s all have a good shudder and shiver together.
True misery isn’t cured by money
My sister Megan and I were watching the Detroit Pistons in the NBA playoffs a couple of years. Suddenly she pretended her phone was ringing.
“Oh, is this Chauncy Billups?” Chauncy was the point guard for Detroit. “Why yes, Chauncy, I will accept one million dollars from you,” she said, pretending to hang up the phone that had never rung.
I laughed. What else could I do? And yet I realized then and now how often money is on her mind. It is the sign of success and the end of all problems.
Have you ever been miserable? I mean dragging yourself through another day or week or year that feels like a root canal that compounds exponentially with every breath you take? If so…if you believe you have experienced true misery and hopelessness…would money have changed things?
I can only speak for myself. When I’ve been at my worst emotionally, mentally, and with zero hope, money never has anything to do with the solution.
Don’t forget your days
Even though I’ve been harping about reasons to keep a journal, it is possible to live unforgettable days once in a while. The better you get at them, the more frequently they appear.
Here is how we can create days that we won’t soon forget:
- Refuse to be bored but waste as little time as possible
- If you’re miserable, find something you like and do it quick
- Have goals
- Achieve goals
- Less time thinking about yesterday
- Less time thinking about tomorrow
- Have lots of conversations with good friends
- The fewer electronic screens in your life, the better
- Don’t stay at a job you hate forever
Money could be on that list, but I’m not putting it on mine. When it makes it into the mix, it often floats to the top of my priorities and corrupts everything.
Whenever possible, I try to view my money the way I view my debt: just numbers on a screen somewhere.
Whatever you are doing, do it on your terms. If you are currently enduring circumstances that you hate, know the reason why. Don’t do it “just because.” And let’s try not to make money a goal in itself. That’s a hollow pursuit.
At least have this in mind, and I’ll do the same: My goal is to have enough money so that I can improve myself in this way (insert whatever you like).
My grandfather told me once that money can ruin people. I know that it can, but it doesn’t ruin everyone. Regardless, it’s convenient for me to say “well it won’t ruin me!” But then, I don’t have any money.
What’s the difference? If you believe that money can affect people negatively, let’s talk about how or why it might happen in the comments.
Also, are any of you looking for new jobs to replace jobs you hate? If so, how long until you make your move? If not, hooray!
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