Gretchen from the Happiness Project had a great story today that emphasized the truth of her main point:
If you have plenty of fun in your life – if you make time to see
friends, to learn about things that interest you, to do the things you
enjoy, like reading or going to movies or hiking – you have a higher
store of patience and tolerance.
On the other hand, when you don’t have much fun in your life, it’s
easy to become preoccupied with the aggravations and frustrations.
There’s nothing to distract you from your bad feelings.
Gretchen was pushing a stroller through ice and snow and didn’t even realize how difficult it was until she got home because she was having so much fun talking to her friend. It’s like a long wait at a restaurant isn’t noticeable if you are catching up with an old friend.
Money is not evil. Having money is not wrong. Spending money is not wrong.
Steve Olson has a great post about Why People Believe Money is the Root of all Evil – both Steve Olson and Steve Pavlina take that one step further and explain why if you think money is evil you will never have any. Steve Olson’s post has a great list of things he grew up hearing that implied having money was bad. Here’s the ones on his list that I also heard a lot:
- He’s filthy rich
- That house is a waste of space, can you imagine the heat bill
- Whadda ya think money grows on trees
- He’s got money to burn
- How much money does a person need?
All of those are negative comments and imply that having money is evil, but money enables you to do things. It’s very hard to save the world or even yourself if you don’t have any money.
So, earn the money, make sure it doesn’t ruin you, use it wisely and accomplish your goals. You can use money to find a cure for autism or to hang out on the beach for the rest of your life or make sure everybody in your town makes it to college. Without money any of those will be hard to accomplish. It’s even easier to stay in shape, eat healthy and live a longer life if you have money.
Passing on having money won’t make you a better person, it will just give you one less tool to accomplish what you’d like to do in life.
Photo by Big-E-Mr-G.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do with my life and I had another ah-hah moment this weekend. I spent the whole weekend with Caleb in the hospital and it didn’t bother me at all – once they figured out that Caleb was going to be ok that is. I did feel extremely grateful that we had health insurance – I might not have been as calm through three days in the hospital without insurance but that’s another topic. So being in the hospital with a sick kid didn’t bother me.
We have also been spending a lot of money and vacation time lately. Some of it planned (like for vacations and treadmills) and some of it unplanned (like for hospital stays and snow storms.) And that didn’t bother me.
And I realized a while ago that if I won the lottery I wouldn’t want to go sit on the beach for the rest of my life. I’d want a few interesting things to do.
While I was thinking about all this, I ran across Steve Pavlina’s Life – The Ultimate Game post. And it made sense. He writes that life is like a video game and you don’t play the game because winning is fun. You want to win, but you don’t play just because you want to win. You also enjoy all the challenges along the way (can you get past that hairy monster or collect all the right objects?) and all the places you explore. Even when you are losing, you might be having a lot of fun. You might play one game for days, weeks or even months without "winning."
That explains why people hike the Appalachian Trail, sky dive or even raise kids. The challenges and the journey are as rewarding as the end goal.
I’m not big into video games, so I’d rather think of life as a game of cards. You start out with the hand you’re dealt and play it the best you can. If you get all top cards, you’ll win fast and it’ll be exciting for a minute, but if you’re dealt a not so good hand and you make it work, it’s so much more satisfying. You prove that you are good, not just lucky. The way I see it I started out with a pretty good hand, my parents added a few good cards (like self-confidence and a college education) and now I’m playing the best I can. When I get a bad card (like a hospital stay or an unexpected bill), I just add it to the mix and see how I can make it work out. [And sometimes you need that low card to get the straight!]
I’m having fun playing and I’m winning! 🙂