I think it’s safe to say that completing my third decade of life a few months ago has brought about some serious changes in my life. Man, I thought I knew everything in my 20s. I really did. I really thought I’d had everything figured out. Nah, nowhere close.
As I started my 31st trip around the sun back in March some things I thought or believed were increasingly challenged to the point where it was incredibly painful. I very much have had internal battles over the past few months and the realizations I’ve come to have been unsettling yet liberating. I think of them now as growing pains.
I’ll be doing an entire series on these lessons over the next few days, but I think this one is a good place to start. I’m calling this part 2 because I have essentially already written about part 1. You can read about that here.
So what have I learned about money? It’s pretty simple really:
Money is life’s biggest booby prize. I always thought when I went through an employment drought that all my problems and misery would be cured if I had money. Then I landed a good paying job, started digging myself out of a hole, financed a brand new car to replace my beat up piece of shit and other things. Did I feel in the least bit better? Oh hell no.
I’m at a point now where I have more than enough money that I could write a check for the remaining balance on that car, pay it off and still have several thousands of dollars left to my name. I have plenty of money to decorate my dermis however I want and I don’t really have to worry about being able to cough up for it.
Has it made my life any better though? No way. What good is money if you want to blow your fucking brains out every morning? What good is it if you’re internally dead? Nothing whatsoever. Yeah, having a nice car is good and I love my tattoos and adding more to my collection but none of this has really served to bring me any additional net long-term joy (even the most sentimental or most artistic tattoos become just a background thought after some time).
This revelation really spurred me onto making my dream of L&B a reality someday hopefully in the not-too-distant future. I know for a fact I will have way less money than I have now (and be working more hours for that lesser amount) and I’m already investing a lot of my money into “market research” – even going so far as to try certain products (cigars, whiskeys, etc.) that I know aren’t to my taste but that I’ll need to be knowledgeable of because a lot of people do like those things. It’s taking a toll on my bank account (as well as my taste buds, liver and oropharyngeal area) but I know in the end it’ll be worth it.
Don’t kid yourself – money is nice to have and it’s nice to not have to struggle, but it’s not a cure all and there’s a lot of truth to the saying “money can’t buy happiness.” If you had to pick between having long-term happiness or being rich, which would you pick? I think most people would pick the former. Of course, the two are not mutually exclusive in that you can only have one or the other, you can have both, or you can have neither.
I think most of us fall into the trap (at least in our teens and 20s) that rich implies happy. That you had to have wealth to be happy. Further I think some people (maybe even most people) never come to that realization. I hope you do though.