Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happiness tip: "Make the money, don't let the money make you."

 Last week at work, I talked to an attorney who is doing VERY well. Business is good, money is flowing. He's almost a decade and a half younger than my mom. And he recently suffered a massive heart attack.

 Why? He's an extraordinarily engaging fellow. He works out regularly. He certainly never has to worry about my number-one stresser, which is "am I going to be able to pay my rent, heat, and student loans this month, or am I going to fall behind again?" But his stress levels are still positively through the roof. He has very little free time, very many obligations, and several family members depending on his hefty income. I didn't see his home, but I have a feeling it's probably enormous.

 I told the guy he needs to turn off his phone for a few weeks, go to a sandy beach, and drink pina coladas out of a coconut until he feels better. Or perhaps come here to Indiana and go camping, see a monster truck rally or demo derby... basically, go full redneck.

This fellow absolutely needs to reduce his number of commitments, downsize his lifestyle, cut off the moochers in his family who depend on his moneybags, and engage in work and hobbies that he enjoys, or at the very least that don't stress him senseless. He also admitted to being very inauthentic to colleagues and friends alike. Everything is "Fine, never better, I feel great" regardless of the fact that's almost never true.

The stress-outs and the in-authenticity are going to kill him, it is just a matter of when. I worry for him. I worry for the thousands of people like him.

My own life reflects a bit of a quandary between a desire for the simpler life, and the need to make more money. I want the tiny sustainable house of my dreams. I want to be out of debt. These things require money, though, and more money than I'm currently making. How does one get there without losing their way and ending up like my single-serving friend, the lawyer?

So today's happiness tip is a truth, yes, but I freely admit that it's not one I know how to find just yet.

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