Money Does Not Equal Freedom
I remember sitting in my tiny one-bedroom apartment on the second floor of my friend’s parent’s house on what could have been any number of Wednesday evenings and looking into the sparse cupboard for something to eat. There were some canned veggies, maybe some pasta. There might have been some half-empty condiments in the fridge or, if it was a good week, some leftover Chinese food from the last few days.
I say Wednesday because that was when I usually ran out of money. So I had to wait until Friday to get paid again and make do with what I had. It was a challenging but straightforward existence. I lived a one-week-at-a-time existence. I got paid on Friday, Drank beers at the bar on Friday night, worked hungover on Saturday, went out again on Saturday night, collapsed on Sunday, and then worked the rest of the week and just repeated the cycle.
It could have been a better situation. I was only a few paychecks away from being homeless. I worked harder than any person should have to. I was dead tired at the end of the day and even more so at the end of the week. Yet, throughout it all, I found myself happy with my existence. It was simple and steady. I had enough to get by but no extra to complicate my life.
I had no one to tell me how I needed to live. I was fully autonomous. I answered only to myself. I read a lot of books, and I absorbed the newspaper daily. I watched copious amount of sports and had many friends, It was tough, but I was happy…… That was back in the ‘80s
Roll the clock ahead to today… Things are polar opposites!
Let’s say I am no longer running out of money on Wednesdays. I have done well in that department. All the trappings of the American success journey have been reached. I have plenty of everything. But what did that actually cost me?
I have hated my entire working life. I am fat and out of shape, and my stress level is off the charts. I missed half my kid’s childhoods due to being “in the office.” I was neck-deep in debt; where was the money that was supposed to give me this freedom? I am scarred, and my anxiety is off the charts. I am not here to whine about my life. I have come out beaten and battered, but life has no do-overs. I am happy…