If I had 10 million dollars
We live in a culture where nothing is ever enough. Never enough money; enough cars; enough career success; enough people jealous of our lives. There are never too many tvs; never too many selfies; too many bathrooms; too many fancy jewels. We need things, things and more things.
What if, instead of continuing to see how much more our neighbors have, we look at our own experiences and insisted on creating more of those? How about we change our outlook and focus on how many times we smile in a day; how many hugs we give our kids; how much our hearts fill with gratitude for the little dog who keeps farting but makes us laugh with her complete shamelessness about it.
I've been down and out. I've been up and in. I've lived paycheck to paycheck and I've lived without the need to check my bank balance before making a big purchase. While the latter takes a lot of stress out of the picture, it has never directly given me joy. Yes, money is necessary, and yes, lots of money gives us a sense of freedom and the ability to create more experiences and joy in our lives. BUT how much do we appreciate money for that specific reason? On the flip side, how much do we depend on money to impress other people? How many times have we blamed money for our unhappiness or used it to compare our houses/cars/clothing to our peers? How are we using money to rule our daily lives?
The fact is, we have to have money to survive. After survival, the amount of money we have is relevant only in how we choose to view it. Do you see your money as a means to collect more stuff or keep up with others, or do you think of it as a tool for gaining things that bring you actual, personal joy? Have you even really thought about the difference lately?
I'm not judging. I've been sucked into the "have and have not" way of thinking. It's everywhere! In an attempt to offset the constant bombardment of MORE MORE MORE, I have compiled a list of money questions with the hope that it will help keep things real, because that is ultimately my goal at 40.
If you suddenly had a legitimate 10 million dollars sitting in your bank account:
What is your first thought?
Do you want people to know about it?
What is the first thing you THINK about purchasing?
What is the first thing you ACTUALLY purchase?
Do you divide it up (savings/investments/giving/vacations/material items/etc..)? If so, how?
Do you quit your current job? If so, what do you do all day now?
Who do you spend most of your time with now?
Does your social circle differ from before the 10 million?
Why? Why to all of the above answers?
No lie, I have some resentments about money. It can wedge itself between people. It causes jealousy and feelings of power or powerlessness. It feels unfair sometimes. It's not always correlated with who works harder for it. As I said, resentment.
However, when I take the time to really think about those questions I listed, I realize how little would change in my life if I had an actual 10 million dollars. Of course there would be differences, but maybe I can stop complaining about my small house when I think I probably wouldn't move even if I could? Maybe I can enjoy my job a little more when I'm pretty sure I would still go in, even if I didn't need the paycheck. Maybe I can focus on the fun I get to have, when I realize I'd probably do most of my spending on the same zip-lining, road trip, donut-tasting adventures I already do.
A butt-load of money would make a lot of things easier, but I can let go of some resentment when I realize I wouldn't trade up my current life. I love my circle, my family and my farting dog, and no amount of money will impress or change them.