Money is a contentious subject. The thing we hate talking about, yet we talk about the most. How much we have. How much we haven’t. How much other people have got, and how they made it. How we can make it. How we can be rich. How we can aspire to be rich.
I don’t want to make money by traditional means. I don’t want to sell stuff. I’ve spent a decade of my life doing that and it destroyed me. And now I can see that stuff isn’t all that, anyway.
I don’t want to make a lot of money. I just want to get by and live a happy life, with a bit of fun and freedom to try new experiences every now and then. I don’t want the trinkets, the trophies, the platinum cards. And I don’t want to make any money selling physical products to people who don’t really need them.
Oh, money, you fickle beast. Over the past few years, I have come not to loathe money, but to try and detach myself from it, with varying degrees of success. I still find myself, once too often, bemoaning the lack of cash in my life. But I can focus now on things other than money. Things that are more important. And that’s why I think people just don’t quite get it.
I don’t want to make any money by selling things and stuff for other people. A reward can be something other than money. A burst of endorphins, a grateful smile. A thank you. A knowledge that you’ve helped someone with no ulterior motive in mind, other than to make them feel good. These things are reward enough. These things are greater than money.
But, of course, I choose to take part in this economy. And for that I need a certain cash flow. I can’t ignore the fact that money is an essential part of the fabric of our society today, much as I love the gift economy and freeconomics. So I choose to make an income from my time, from offering what little help I can give to people who are searching for the same thing as I am. I need to support myself, but I want any income to come from a heartfelt place, from something I believe in.
I’ve wrestled with this dilemma for a while, worrying about letting people down, worrying about how I should be, worrying that the best thing in life might really be a Lamborghini Gallardo in lime green and I should really be trying my hardest to be able to afford one.
I’m learning not to care. I’m learning to make peace with my finances, and to try to find that balance to bring in an income and ensuring that the way I’ve made that money sits well with me. It’s hard not to become distracted and even harder to stick to your principles when the whole of society is screaming that more money is more happiness, more money is a better person, more money is where you should aspire to be. More money might be more problems but society is pointing us that way and giving us a not-so-gentle push to hurry us along the timeline of wealth.
It’s nice to realise this, though. And all I can do is to carry on my little way, constantly evaluating my reasons, adjusting my sights and aiming, not for the bullion, but for a bar of happiness, of reason, and of just enough money made in just the right way.