I was just E-Mailing with my friend J. Money over at Budgets Are Sexy, and I had a profound thought, one that has occurred to me before, but which I’ve never verbalized — and I decided to verbalize it to you:
Are we really doing what we want to do with our lives?
Think about it. Except for the independently wealthy, we’ve all got to worry about paying down debt, living comfortably, and saving to retire comfortably. Look at all of us here in the PF blogosphere: there’s a whole culture devoted to dealing with these issues! When you think about it, it seems that almost every decision we make is driven by money.
This occurs to me in particular when I think about myself and my job. Let’s just say that a lot of the time, I’m less than enamored of it. But I do it. Why? Because I have to. Why? Because I have to pay down debt, make enough to live comfortably, and save for retirement.
If it were up to me, I’d go to music school, learn the nuts and bolts of music theory, and spend my life working in music: maybe I’d compose, maybe I’d perform, maybe I’d teach, maybe I’d do something else altogether. Or I might like to work in non-profit. Or I might like to get into public service. I really think there are higher and better uses for TSF than what I do now, but alas, I’ve got to accept that I can’t just do what I want because I have these obligations.
Interestingly, I’ve known a lot of independently wealthy people who have been very flighty when it comes to what they do with their lives. Maybe there’s something to be said for the struggle that we all deal with. But as I think about a career change, I’m forced to accept that I must do something that’s going to pay the bills.
In a sense, this reminds me of Baker‘s post over at Man vs. Debt: would you kill a stranger for a billion dollars? I believe that the fact that we even consider this question demonstrates the extent to which I’m right (and kudos to Baker — what a great post and exercise in getting to the root of PF and human nature).
Am I bumming you out? I hope not — seriously — but I’ve been particularly down on the job this week and resigned to my station in life. Am I wrong about this? How do you all get past these kinds of doldrums? I’ve read a lot about being grateful for what we have and not focusing on what we don’t, but I can’t help but wish I had the freedom to just do what I want and, more importantly, to not have to do something I don’t particularly like (and something that I completely hate at times). Isn’t that what we’re all really after?