I’ve always had this sort of obsession with looking good on paper, both literally and figuratively. Like yeah, it doesn’t hurt to look good in your license picture. I will admit I have delayed getting a picture taken on a bad day. Let’s be honest, they always end up just terrible, regardless. It was always HAVING the license that really made me smile. I remember when I got my first job, (not on the farm) at the ripe age of 13. I remember what it was like to have my first bank book far before that, at about eight years old. I remember my first paper checks (what are those, right?). I remember my first American Express Card. I remember filling out all the paperwork. God I LOVE paperwork. This feeling of paying bills, having a passport, license, registrations, applications, credit cards, asset accounts, insurance documents, diplomas and degrees; It made me feel like a person. Equity, organization and the ability to have the means to get something done has always been my most urgent focus in life.
I am more than positive that my need for being a success on paper was derived solely from feeling like a scattered mess as a child. Having no control, as a child, made me want to be an adult as soon as possible. I grew up too fast and took everything too seriously. As an adolescent, I strived for significance far beyond my years. I craved a significance that embodied a structure and control that I was desperately seeking in my childhood.
I have always felt that if you aren’t moving forward, you are moving backwards. I procrastinate for motivation. I reach further and further than I even need to so that I can catch up with myself. I wholeheartedly believe that the most fierce competition should be with oneself.
As I grow older not much changes, except that I’m not as worried with where the next money will come from. I don’t do this because I’m delusional. I do it because I now know what matters more. I know that if I work hard as much as I can, whenever I can the money will eventually come. Just as they money comes, it will go away. That’s the lesson in life about money .. it comes and it goes. Time, however, time just .. goes. You don’t get more time.
There’s always a point to working hard, making investments and being smart with money. There no point, however, in stressing about something that you can’t control. You’ll never be able to control the price point of the things that you need or want … so if you need it or want it enough … buy it and shut up. If your family needs it or wants it .. buy it and shut up. If you have a slow day at work, remember there will be busier and more lucrative days in the future, just like there were in the past, enjoy the pace and shut up!
I am old enough to have watched people die, too many times. On one’s death bed they are never worried about that slow day at work 15 years prior or how they needed to budget a little more on certain months. They never tell you about how they regret making too much money or too little money. No. If there are any regrets to be spoken of , they are the regrets of lost time and lost relationships. Rarely is it about what they look like on paper, but more how their families and friends see them in their heart.
I have small children. I do not have all the answers. I do know that I would like my children to be motivated and determined to make something of themselves. I expect for them to learn these things about money, time and heart on their own. Far beyond what I want to teach them about the importance of education, infrastructure and success; I want them to know that it is all going to be okay. Is that hippy of me? No. (and ew, never) I believe that my kids will be far more successful if they do not hear the adults in their lives being a slave to work, time, money, price points and the constant battle to look better on paper than the day before. There will always be more money … there will never be more time.