Coop up two mildly attention-deficit humans in a house for a few days with the stomach bug, and you’re bound to get some weird conversation. One of our more normal conversations this week, though, was revisiting the topic of what it is we want from life (we’ve talked about it here, here, and here).
Day in and day out, we work. We work hard. All in the pursuit of… more money. We all have goals and dreams. We imagine where we’ll be years down the road once those dreams have become a reality. What do those dreams look like for you? For Johnny and me, our dreams look a little like this:
- a house
- a couple more kids
- the freedom to give said kids the attention they need
- more time that isn’t spent working
When we were talking about what we want from life, I told Johnny a few things I don’t want:
- a big house (i.e., more space than we need)
- furnishings, clothes, cars, and things that make a statement about our perceived wealth
- us 10 years from now wondering what we’ve done other than work
Everyone’s goals are different. If someone does want a big house or a fancy car or both, that’s great. Go after it. But that’s just never been part of our dreams. And even though we know what we want, we wonder if we’ll know how to get to it without working all the time. Or if we’ll make the choices that will get us to our idea of success, rather than society’s perception of success. It’s inevitable that we’ll always want for more things. And if there’s more money, we’ll likely find more things to spend it on.
Success is such an outward achievement in our society. If you have all the things, you’re considered a success. And it’s so easy to get sucked in. Even though Johnny and I don’t really want more stuff, we don’t dislike stuff. And it feels good to be able to afford stuff. But if it ever comes down to trading stuff for more time spent not working, I hope we choose time.
At some point, we all need to decide what it is we’re working for. Most of you are a lot smarter than we are, so maybe you decided ages ago. Our next question should be whether more money will help us achieve those wants. Sometimes more money is the answer. And that’s when working your you-know-what off comes into play. More money isn’t a bad pursuit. Sometimes it’s a really good pursuit. But it isn’t the end-all-be-all. That’s why we have to know what we want. So that our money goals help us reach our life goals. And so our life doesn’t just become a pursuit for more, more, more. More work, more money, more stuff.
If we can get what we want by working less, I hope we choose less. Even if it means less money, too.
Have you ever thought about what you really want? What do you need to do to get there?