It’s Not About the Money, Money, Money
Do you work to make money?
Or do you work to be able to pay for things?
There’s a difference. A big one. And it’s all about perspective.
Often there are times in life when it’s easy to lose sight of why you even go to work, humming along in idle mode and punching the clock just for the sake of that weekly check. But can you really call this living? Are you taking the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of your labor? When was the last time you paused to relax and feel gratitude for your job and the money it brings in?
I understand there may occasionally be hard financial circumstances, especially over the past few years with everything that’s been going on in the world, but you still deserve a little fun and joy on a regular basis. We weren’t meant to keep our noses to the grindstone. We need to look up from time to time and see the sun.
Working for money breeds resentment.
We clock in. We toil away, selling off our lives minute by minute. We get a paycheck. And then that paycheck disappears and we do it all over again. It feels like a vicious cycle.
On the other hand, working toward goals gives us a sense of purpose! It gives us motivation! We can see where that money is going, we see the results that our efforts will bring us, and though these goals may vary from person to person, there are a few that we share.
Goal #1: To pay the bills.
Sure, this sounds boring on the surface, but isn’t it wonderful that you have a roof over your head and food in the fridge? Don’t you appreciate your indoor plumbing and electric lights? Doesn’t the Internet make your life so much easier?
Next time you find yourself frustrated over the amount of money going toward “bills,” remind yourself what those bills are really doing for you.
Goal #2: To give you experiences.
Money can bring you experiences as big as a trip to the Pyramids, and as small as trying a strawberry macaron from that new bakery downtown. It can help you drive cross country, or order pizza for you and a few friends. It can give you craft supplies and books, or take you to concerts and plays. It can buy you a bicycle or a puppy or dance classes.
That green paper in your wallet is just green paper in your wallet. It’s the experiences you spend it on that are really worth something.
Goal #3: To let you be you.
The clothes you wear. The meals you make. The hobbies you love. All the knick knacks in your house. These are all ways you express yourself, and how could you do so without money? How could you afford that haircut or those boots that make you feel just so YOU? How could you order sushi from your favorite restaurant? Or get that poster of Italy where you daydream about going?
Money allows you to choose all these things that let you live authentically and joyfully, and show the world who you really are.
Goal #4: To plan for the future.
Whether you keep it in a piggy bank, a savings account, an IRA or an envelope under your mattress, setting money aside for the future is an excellent avenue for part of your paycheck. Maybe it’s a college fund for your kid. Maybe it’s going toward your retirement. Maybe it’s for that big Disney trip you’ve been longing for. Or maybe it’s just an emergency fund in case the pipes burst or your car breaks down.
Regardless, you’re earning money for something that extends beyond the present and gives you something to look forward to (or at least not to stress so much about) later on down the road.
Goal #5: To give it away.
You may feel like you’re giving away your paycheck every week already, and find that frustrating… but this goal means something a little different. It’s the ability to give gifts over the holidays, or just because. It’s taking your mom or grandma out to lunch. It’s lending your buddy $50 when they need some help. It’s grabbing coffees for the whole office this morning, your treat. And it’s donating to a cause that’s near and dear to your heart.
It feels so good to treat the people you care about, and to feel you’re making a difference in the world. Next payday, consider how you might tackle this particular goal and create a few smiles.
Don’t let work be only about making money.
You’re not punching a clock and putting in the hours “just to pay the bills.” It’s far more than that: you’re creating the life you want to live in so many little ways. And yes, sometimes your job is miserable, and sometimes your wages are lower than you deserve. Nothing is stopping you from finding a better fit somewhere where you’re a better fit and are more appreciated. Keep looking! But in the meantime, remember what you’re working for.
Set goals, make plans, or schedule trips. Create a fund jar for a specific treat you want to save up for. Think about what that money is going to do for you! It doesn’t need to be anything extravagant, but make sure you are filling your days with things you love to do, and not merely things you have to do.
The life you lead is your own, so shape it into one that suits your needs and fulfills your purpose.