Life’s a paradox. We want to be rich, but we don’t want to spend our lives working for it. We want to have money, but want to live like we don’t need it. We want the world, but won’t make the leap to see it. It’s this perpetual conversion of our wild, heartfelt ambitions into money-making practicalities that keep us in a perpetual state of unrest. It’s this tug-of-war between our desire to be rich and our desire to be free.
You can’t be both. You can’t possibly do what you want — whenever you want — without money. You can’t see the world without being imprisoned by it first. You can’t leave for greener pastures without mowing them first.
No life comes for free. Every person must pay his way. Every person must first add to society what he plans to take out later. How you decide to pay your way, however, is what defines you.
There are those who pay their way to get to something better, and those who do it and forget why they are doing it. There are the ones who get caught in the race, chaining themselves so tightly to the hamster wheel that they forget they can get off any time.
They get distracted by the stuff — by all the stuff — and that innate yearning for something more, something greater, becomes stifled below all the things they try and buy to make them happy. So because they can’t be doing what they want, they buy things to fill the emptiness.
It’s easy to get caught up in it all. It’s easy to forget what you’re working for and let your work become your life. It’s easy to forget what the point of it is; to forget why you’re working in the first place.
You need to remember why you were working so hard to make this money to begin with: to live. You want to see the world, taste every opportunity and try everything there is to offer.
You want to live a full life, one that’s worth talking about; one that’s worth remembering. You want to be free, completely unshackled from anyone telling you what to do and where to do it. Money isn’t your salvage, money is only a step to freedom.
Your true purpose in this world is to see it. It’s to use that money to see the world, to live life in it’s most basic form. It’s to experience everything that’s out there and understand what it truly means to live.
It means dying with the comfort of knowing that you led a full life, one worthy of the opportunity to experience it. It’s not about the stuff you collected or the money you saved, but how you lived without those things.
There are no greater chains than that of things. What you collect, consume and hoard weighs you down. It keeps you shackled to your spot. It keeps you thinking that your happiness lies in inanimate objects rather than in the experiences; moments that could never fit on a shelf.
It’s these insignificant things that keep you imprisoned. It’s this desire to have more that keeps you from getting everything. Because the greatest thing you can strive for is contentment. Living your life knowing you don’t need anything besides what you have and what’s in front of you is the ultimate “thing”. It’s those insignificant things that eat away at your money and your freedom.
Having things means leaving them. It means adding unnecessary weight to your load, making getting up and leaving that much harder. Suddenly, you’re thinking about all you’re leaving behind rather than looking at everything that could be in front of you.
Your eulogy won’t include how much money you saved. People may remember that you were rich, but they won’t love you for it. They won’t smile when they think about all the money you had in the bank. They won’t cry over your forgotten belongings or empty estates. They will cry for who you were and what you did.
They will recall the kind of person you were, everything you experienced, everything you saw. They will talk about the things you loved and the people you touched. They will recall all the places you visited that changed you, those funny stories you told them and the experiences you shared together.
Being rich happens in years, but being a well-rounded person takes a lifetime. Experiences never get lost or ruined. Anything that has a price-tag — that can be bought and sold — isn’t something that’s going to stay with you. Things break, they get ruined, they are lost. Placing any amount of happiness in inanimate objects is setting yourself up for the chance to lose those things, and in return, to lose happiness.
The only things that will stay with you are feelings, memories and good times. No amount of money or objects will shelter you.
You can pay for fancy homes and fancy cars, but they’ll never keep you safe or help you weather the emotional storms of life. Because things are just things; they never last. Which the happiness attached to them about as temporary as a momentary high. The more you collect, however, the higher your tolerance becomes, and like an addict, eventually you will have bought everything and feel nothing.
Happiness is a state of being. It’s never going to be something that you can trade, barter or consume. It’s a conscious realization that no amount of things will make you happy. It’s learning that the absence of them is where happiness lies.