Ok – this post may not be for you. It may take some life tread marks on your psyche to appreciate.
Scene set – you have the career and enough money to keep the wolves at bay – the home is yours, the debts are monthly, investments are growing, and you even have enough left over to play a little. Societal standard comparison – you have made it! You have most of what this materially driven world says you should hunt and capture. And yet…
Any yet, if you are truly honest with yourself, you feel a lack of fulfillment. OK, let’s cut the crap – a profound lack of fulfillment. You play the role of success with your colleagues, your friends and perhaps even with your family (and yes, they mean the world to you) but there is the knowing feeling that you have lived a path in life that is not of your own. Yes, you created it – you have to take responsibility for it, but along the way you lost some of the self-direction you thought would guide you through life.
The allure of money caught you and slowly entwined your daily pursuits to an unhealthy focus of acquire and spend. Make no mistake about this – this is poverty. Not poverty in the monetary sense but poverty in hollow action – lack of meaning to you and the world at large. Hollow.
In the rare quiet moments our technologically obsessed lives allow you find yourself thinking, what if? Or, can I? What would it be like? All questions that draw your essence back to things that you really want to do. Activities, relationships that don’t necessarily feed the monetary machine but make you feel good, alive…perhaps even awesome.
The news you want to hear is…all those things, and even more, are still there – they are just a little dusty. Just like when you try to lose the weight you focus on little steps to lose the first pound. To get in shape you focus on the first visit to the gym. We just have to wean ourselves off of evaluating all of our actions in terms of monetary gain and expand our vision to the much richer, soul touching actions that make you feel deep down that this is your life.
I was attending a big band concert recently where a group of 15 or so semi-pro musicians got on stage and brought to life in an acoustical masterpiece, the works of legendary jazz performers like Count Basie and Oscar Peterson. I used to play tenor sax 35 years ago but let it go as the game of monetary life easily pushed it out of the way. Hearing those saxes race across the scales, the trumpets vaulting to ‘super c’ or the pianissimo of the keyboards bring the whole band down to a huddled whisper – ah, I was in heaven. It was all I could do not to go down on stage and be a part of it.
This is just one of several pursuits of passion that I am letting back into my life. To do this I have to make time which means reducing my business in some areas. Studies show that above $80K in annual income happiness remains relatively flat-lined as income continues to increase. Dollars lost – passion felt. It is one of the easiest equations, at this stage of life, I have ever had to figure out.