Life

There are a lot of ways to be wealthy, money is just one…

June 1, 2017
jilbert ebrahimi- www.unsplash.com

Why do you want to be rich?

I really don’t want to be rich. Comfortable would be nice though.

What good is money if you never get the chance to spend it? Like most people I spend more time with my work family than my actual one. Putting my nose to the grind in order to provide a better life for the wife and kids.

Always looking forward to the next weekend, vacation, and paycheck. Spending the majority of my waking hours chasing dollars so I can try to buy back my time later. Trading the best years of my life in hopes of building memories when I can eventually retire. Hoping that I’ll be healthy enough to enjoy it.

That’s me now, but not always…

TV taught my generation that we all need to grow up to be lawyers and doctors. That we all needed big houses and several cars. That we need to be rich to have a full life. Kids today are learning that they need to be rich and famous to matter in the golden age of social media. At least that is the perception.

A change in point of view

After I left the army, I moved back home to Colorado in order to take a job with a local airline. Not making a ton of money, however plenty of overtime pay filled my pockets.

After spending several years taking orders, I was ready to cut loose and live free as the wind! Make some of my own decisions for a change. Time to chase a passion and turn it into a career. Something I wouldn’t mind working hard doing.

The airline gig was a great job. I was outside loading bags onto planes. Work hard for about forty minutes, and chill out for an hour waiting for the next flight to arrive. It was on one of these lulls, that I shared my plans of moving to the Keys in order to become a SCUBA instructor. All agreed that it sounded great! Living on boats, and soaking up the island life. What could be better?

“Can you make any money doing that?” asked a coworker. I laughed and told them all that I was just going to be broke for the rest of my life.

One of the older guys chimed in and said, “there are a lot of ways to be wealthy, money is just one”.

I had to agree with him. I didn’t care about the money. After all, I was moving across the country to take up a profession I knew would never make me rich in a conventional way. This was in 2003, and people didn’t really talk that way yet. You hear a lot more of that now. Buy memories, not things…

Point of views change when you get older

Of course I had to find a real job in order to support my family in a normal kind of life. House, care payments, and such… That’s not a bad thing and I enjoy what I do for a living. It is still work though.

Keeping up with the Jones’ and wanting material things is something that I’ve struggled with more now that I’m older. Back in my early 20’s I was seeking nothing but adventure. Not a care in the world when it came to my checkbook. Now, what item can I get off Amazon will make life easier? What do the neighbors have that I like too? Like I have some imaginary hole that needs to be filled with stuff.

Is it so bad to compare yourself to others? Maybe. I always wonder if what other people’s material things makes them happy. Do you really enjoy cleaning that huge house? Is it really worth it spending all that time in traffic away from your family?

I think that a better comparison is measuring where you are now compared to what you had to deal with in the last stage of your life. Everyone moves through stages. High school, early adulthood, marriage, family, professional life… Is life easier or harder now? Where are my struggles? What is standing in the way of happiness?

Life is never going to be perfect, and a fist full of cash isn’t going to change that.

How do you measure success?

High paying job? New car? Big house? Nice things? What about a nice family vacation once a year? How much in my bank account is enough?

You can always make more money, but time passes very by quickly. Especially when you have kids. Maybe someday we can buy more time.

It’s not the end of the world to be poor. I’ve been poor. Wondering where I would find my next dollar while crashing with a friend.  I’ve also been flush with cash, and very lonely because I was working so many hours I didn’t have time for a life. I can’t really say which one was worse… This must be that work life balance thing people talk about.

My life is much different now, with a wife and kids. Money and stability is a priority.

I try to remind myself of the really important things in life while I’m trading my time for a steady paycheck. Making the time to spend together as a family. Memories that make your heart feel full.

There is no need to be bitter about what you don’t have, or worry about what other people are doing. Be happy with what you have for as long as you have it. Tomorrow is never a guarantee, so choose how you spend your time wisely.

All this is just my experience and opinion. It might be really nice to have a private jet. Pretty sure that I would be just as happy living with my family, in a van, down by the river…


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