Money and I have an odd relationship. I never want to have to deal with it, but I’m always left needing more. I’ve never been great at handling my own money, and I’m always ever-so-willing to offer my art for free.
So something must be done. I’d be perfectly happy living the life of the impoverished artist if it wasn’t for the fact that living a comfortable life is a part of my happiness. It seems that, in my situation, the only way to not be concerned about money would be to have quite a lot of it.
But I could never see at as a virtuous thing just to have money. It is not an end-in-itself, not an ultimate goal. I do not look at people in a life of luxury and think “I wish I had that” and “I’m going to work as very-hard as I can to have that thing. Having things is boring. Every time I have a thing it immediately loses its luster. I am not into things, but I am into events.
Having events, or creating them, is costly. Sharing a dinner with a loved one, flying or driving long distances to see friends, even visiting the family, it all claws at the pockets. And maybe it’s my own fault. Maybe it’s fate, or bad luck, or some mechanic of the universe wrenching at my life thinking “once this thing is fixed, it’ll run like a dream.”
It doesn’t really matter. I have, on the whole, exactly what I want. Family, friends, positive and healthy relationships. I am, to be blunt, alive. Most of the time I don’t ask for much more than that. It is, after all, more than most of the human beings that have ever lived have. It keeps me happy.
But then there’s the crossroads, laying down in the middle of the clock with a gargantuan X. “What are you doing with your time.” Or, even more poignantly, “what have you changed in the world.” I want to change the world. Not in some grand, sweeping way. I’m not an open-to-the-public narcissist. I don’t even believe one person can change the world in any significant way (without support of the community).
A ripple. First an idea, it won’t go away. Then an action, with honesty, empathy, and virtue. Executed with humility. A butterfly effect of happiness. Smile at one person on the street, or two. Then they might smile at the bank teller, or say thank you in the perfect time of day to a worn-out cashier. Happiness is exponential.
But to be in the world costs money. Existential amounts of money.
I’ve had friends that have forgotten my name because I didn’t have enough gas to hang out any more. I’ve missed opportunities to experience and share art because I was trying to pull overtime and pay my utility bill.
It’s not a crisis. It’s just how it all starts catching up. Each bill falling one more piece of sand in the hourglass. I’m tired of deserts. I want rain. Not for greed. Not because I’m lazy. I’m just thirsty, I’ve been dancing as long as I can because in that dizzy moment I can sense something on the border of of perfection.
I’ll work hard for it. I’ll give you all I have. I know, in the end, all debts will be paid.
Here’s to life, and in it, freedom. May your Work and Fortune guide you through it.