Something strange has been happening to me over the past year or so. I haven't written much about it because I'm almost in denial that it's happening.
I'm caring far less about money.
This is scary to admit. A lot of my identity, at least internally, is based around the desire and eventuality that I will become rich. Losing my motivation to be rich is like losing a part of myself. I feel like I'm right on the edge, as if I could just say, "forget it..." and never look back.
I've never been super rich, but I've owned cars I previously fantasized about, lived in places I dreamed about, and have literally been at the point where I bought everything I wanted and couldn't think of anything else to buy.
At the other end of the spectrum, I lived in my RV for almost a year. I had only the water I could hold in my tanks and the electricity I could get from the sun. My backyard was the curb of a public street. The fridge broke, and I went through a Texas summer without air conditioning.
Total luxury versus the complete lack of luxury.
And you know what? Niether was more fun that the other. Niether made me happier. Money didn't affect my life in any measurable way.
And believe me - if anyone wanted to believe that money means something, it was me. I remember talking about this with my friend Hayden.
He laughed and said, "What? You actually thought money mattered?"
I did. People who told me that it didn't never seemed to believe it themselves, so I didn't either.
I think some rich people miss out on authentic experiences by being rich. My friends and I rented the cheapest car we could in Panama, we drove through the countryside, and joined the locals in a tiny interior town and celebrated Carnival with them. It was perfect.
After the celebration we slept in the car for a few hours and drove back to the city. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.
But would Donald Trump even be able to do that? Would he go to a town that doesn't have a hotel rated more than one star?
That's not to say that all great experiences have to be cheap. Another time I was in Vegas with a high roller friend. He won $40k and we celebrated by getting huge hot fudge sundaes sent to our 5000 square foot suite.
After thinking it all out, I guess that what really matters, to me at least, is having as full a range of experiences as possible. I want to hike through a forest and stay in a tent in the middle of nowhere. I want to have a private jet to fly around the world with my friends too, though.
So I want to get rich because doing so will give me a broader range of options, as long as I don't become a snob and think I'm above any of them.
It's not the money itself that's important, or even being able to have lots of cool things. It's the FREEDOM that one gains without having to worry about money.
Off topic, but this made me curious.
You're a vegan now, and you don't typically eat the flashy sugary foods...but there can be a celebratory satisfaction and fun to be had in fantastic foods like giant sundaes...what is the vegan equivalent of that...is there one?
If you miss out on thousands of amazing experiences just to gather money for a few highly costly experiences it might be a better choice just to stick to the cheap ones.
Keep you eyes on the prize. I am depending on you to get rich so you can just give me like an even mil to live off of. Thanks bud.
So true. It's funny to hear you write that, howeverr, since as of pretty recently you still mentioned that money was your top goal. I guess looking back at your RV experience, it all makes sense though.
That's why money is a mean, not an end.
It's ironic that lots of peole think of money as an end when 'money' literally is defined as: "the most common *medium* of exchange".
I've learned that myself recently.
I realized that doing a job that bores me isn't worth the money that I get for it. I'd rather do something that I enjoy for half the salary than do this any longer than I'm required.
My grandfather grew up in a small apartment in Lawrence, Massachusetts with fourteen older brothers and sisters. His mother stayed at home to watch after the family, and his father worked in a dry goods store.
His parents came from Italy to Ellis Island with no money. He grew up poor.
When he was ten or so he began to work at the dry goods store as well. His job was mainly to run into the rat infested basement and get tins of spaghetti to bring upstairs. He was allowed to keep a portion of the money, but most of it went to his parents.
In my short 19 years on this lovely planet, I've lived in the US. I've traveled to the Cayman Islands, England, Spain, France (and Monaco), Italy (and the Vatican City), Canada, and Ecuador (the Galapagos included).
I love traveling. Since I was a little girl, I've dreamed of traveling to China, and I still intend on making it there someday. But in little travel I have done, I noticed two things: 1) how different everything seemed and 2) how familiar everything seemed. Both of things things were very important to travel and to putting me in the mindset that I often fall into while traveling.
We're all people. We all live on the same planet. We all breathe the same air. We all care about similar things. But there were some things that I knew I could never experience, never feel. Ever.
In Ecuador, the group I was traveling with visited as many schools as we could and donated as much as possible to the schools. I always left the schools sobbing, without fail. It was a tremendous experience. There was one encounter in particular in the school we visited in the Amazon region of Ecuador.
We drove up to the village on our big coach bus and the girls all gathered in a cluster just outside the door. They each held bunches of flowers in their hands and as each one of us stepped off the bus, they'd exclaim in unison "Hola" and one of the girls would push a flower into your palm. It was a very warm and joyful welcome. We got situated off the bus, introduced ourselves to the kids, and then we got our boots on because we were going to plant trees. Each of the kids were instructed to choose one of us by taking our hand in theirs and wait patiently beside us until everyone had found a partner. They then led us up the rather steep hillside to an area with a bunch of markers in the ground. This marked the hole where we would plant our tree.