Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Money Ain't A Thing?

In 2002, when I was still married to my first wife, our combined salaries put us well into six-figures. We had two nice cars, a nice house. We took trips wherever and pretty much whenever we wanted to. My wife had regular manicures and pedicures and massages and indulged her hobby of collecting expensive antique furniture and restoring them. Our kid had everything a kid could want and I don't think any of us was happy.

Just a year ago my annual income, when combined with what I made at the gym and from the occasional book or story sale, was almost more than the combined incomes of me and my ex-wife. But that was a year ago. Now, I am struggling like most Americans. I had to sell my dream house and leave Las Vegas after its economy imploded. I live in Austin, Texas now. I don't make shit at my day job but it keeps me so busy that I don't have time to train fighters anymore and barely have time to write. For the last few years I have been trying to find a way to write that best-selling novel like half-a million other writers. I have been planning to open that successful business that would allow me to be comfortably self-employed. I have been trying to find that idea or invention that would make me a millionaire. I dream of leisure even as I cram every waking moment with ceaseless activity.

It's easy to make quaint little statements like "Money isn't everything," "Money can't buy you happiness, love, etc." but the reality is that money keeps your kids from sleeping under a freeway underpass and eating at soup kitchens. Money keeps the bill-collectors at bay. Money even keeps marriages from falling apart. In many studies financial problems beat infidelity as the number one cause of divorce. Most Americans would rather you fuck their best friends than fuck up their finances. Those without money are more likely to commit violent crimes than those with it. Even the bible says: "A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things." So how important is money? Damn important. But will it ultimately make me happy?

I work too damn hard. I don't think there's anyone who knows me who wouldn't agree with that. As a result, a lot of what I do doesn't get done as well as it otherwise might have. I have tried to slow down but it just ain't in me. I'm like a shark and I need to keep moving. Would I slow down if I had money? Probably not much. I would just refocus that energy into other pursuits. Would that make me happy? It wouldn't make me a better writer but it would allow me to devote more time and money to marketing my work which might make me a more successful writer. It wouldn't make me a better trainer but it would allow me to spend more time training fighters which is something I love to do. It wouldn't make me a better father but it would allow me more time to spend with my daughters. It would allow me to provide them with music and dance lessons and actually make it to their recitals. It would allow me to fly up to Exeter New Hampshire to visit my son more often. It wouldn't make me a better husband but it would allow me to spend more time with my wife and to wine and dine her as she deserves to be wined and dined.

So, would more money translate into increased happiness? Damn straight! Do not expect me to relax any time soon. Not until I make my first or second million or maybe after my first billion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean. I was making well into six figures in the mid 1990s. I declared bankruptcy not long ago and lost my precious little home of 20 years. I am now poor and old and alone with no family, and I am considered homeless by my local postmaster who won't even give me a mailbox where I can receive mail.