Monday, September 20, 2010

Talking Myself Through The Panic

(Photo by E.M.)

As the month goes on I have been doing my best to not fall into a panic mode of thinking around income flow. It’s an old pattern of mine that I find creeping up from time to time. It’s a pattern that no longer fits in my life so the draw to it is not as intense as it used to be for me but it’s still there.

I remember spending an incredible amount of time worrying about how I was going make more money. More money. More money. More money. It’s what we’re supposed to be worrying about, right? According to society, money will make us happy. Our goal in life should be living the American Dream. The college education (where you get your first taste of debt), a car (with a payment), a house with the white picket fence (that comes with a 30 year mortgage), the 2.5 kids (whom you must send to college), the expensive toys you must buy and the huge parties you must throw to keep up with the Jones next door and, finally, the retirement that you must save money for. All of this means you must settle for a job that pays you a large salary, even if it’s at the expense of your happiness and may not satisfy you in the least.

This is what I grew up thinking I was supposed to do. (This and the whole getting married to a man thing, which really doesn’t work for me.) I spent the majority of my 40 years in this existence squashing anything that brought me happiness if I couldn’t find a way to attach an income to it.

Photography has always been a love of mine. To be able to capture an image that brings beauty to someone’s life, one that draws out an emotional reaction or brings some sort of peace to a chaotic world, is an amazing feeling and a gift that I’ve always encouraged others to share. Writing a beautiful poem or story that does the same sort of thing for someone is also an amazing talent that I’ve encouraged others to share.

Living from the heart is something I’ve always believed in yet never applied to my own life. Why? Because living from the heart has never been associated with making a living. That is reserved for other people. Extraordinary people who have that destiny to do extraordinary things. People who are more gifted or talented than me. Everyone other than me.

At this point in my life I could go off on a rant about that idea alone, but for the sake of keeping this brief I will refrain and return to my original point.

As Chris Guillebeau, author of The Art of Non-Confirmity, recently tweeted in answer to the question of whether he would choose to do something that he was proficient at despite trading away his happiness or something that satisfied him even if it was unknown, he would choose to do something that satisfied him even if it was unknown. This is what I am choosing now.

This life that I have been gifted with is too short to spend so much time doing something I don’t love nor find even a tiny bit satisfying.

The truth is, when you look at your life in the big scheme of things no one is ever going to talk about your credit score after you’re dead and gone. Life is about the connections you make and whom you surround yourself with, the people you touch and the positive things you do to make the world a better place. That’s what people will remember about you in the end.


  1. Well put. I think society as a whole would be better if we let individuals themselves define what success is and not society. I think the whole planet would be happier if people were doing what they want to do and not just merely making a living. But, our society isn't really set-up for that. Kudos to you for taking control of your destiny and not denying yourself happiness.