First, the caveat:
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about woodworking, trying to make sense of what it is that has always drawn me to it. I’m notorious for over-thinking, overanalyzing and basically spending too much energy navel-gazing. This blog is intended to get some of it out of my head. I’ll be glib, sarcastic and flippant in my other posts. Who knows how this one will turn out. It may be a train wreck, so reader beware! If navel-gazing doesn’t hold any appeal or distraction for you, move on. If you’re allergic to estrogen, move away quickly.
My own personal rules are to not to spend more than 30 minutes on any one post. I can correct a mistake if I catch it right away, but can’t go back. If I post it, I can’t edit or delete. I tend to edit things to death and have been known to delete my posts before it’s too late. (If you’re reading this Monte – you caught me)
If anything resonates with you, feel free to chime in.
10:45 This seems to be the witching hour for me.
I’ve been thinking about money lately, in particular the expression ‘money doesn’t buy happiness’. I tend to disagree. Money doesn’t guarantee happiness, that, I’ll concede, but it sure does help avoid problems and headaches that can keep you from being happy. I don’t know if I agree with the statement that money is the root of all evil either. I think greed is the root of that particular brand of evil.
I’ve found that the people who are the most happy with their financial situations have been worse off at some point.
Let’s be clear, there are a lot of miserable rich people. They’d be miserable, rich, poor, alive and dead. Money doesn’t fix miserable. There are also a lot of miserable poor people. Some of them are miserable because they always have been and always will be miserable. Some are miserable, because they’re exhausted, discouraged, frustrated and beaten down by financial difficulties.
I’m not talking about the happiness that comes from having a good laugh with your family at the supper table, or the happiness that comes from a goofy dog slobbering on your slippers.
Maybe the word I’m looking for is comfort.
This is starting to sound materialistic. I suppose that’s true.
Let me put it this way – I have a family. I’d give everything away if that’s what I needed to do to keep them safe and healthy. I also don’t think they need everything that we can afford to buy.
But I’m very happy that I can buy them the things they need without worrying or fretting.
If my kids need school supplies, we buy them school supplies. If they outgrow their jeans, we can buy them new ones (or new-to-them because I don’t consider brand-name and brand-new to be a need).
I’ve had a job or jobs since before I was old enough to officially have one. I paid my own way through university. Not because I wanted to, but because I had to. I think I was 32 before I paid the last of my loans.
I’ve never gone hungry, but I know that feeling of wondering if you have enough to pay the rent on time. Or walking, not because you want fresh air (that’s what you tell your friends) but you’ve nothing left for bus fare.
I’ve lived in a rooming house where the bathroom was down the hall and I was the only female.
Once, when I was in my early 20s, I was in a particularly bad spot financially. It took every ounce of courage I had, but I finally asked an older friend of mine if she would lend me $250.00. I was completely mortified. I used the money to cover my rent and I paid her back within a month by taking extra shifts at work. I’ve never forgotten that kindness or the shame I felt having to ask.
So does money buy happiness? In some ways it does. But maybe that’s only for those who know what it’s like to have none, or who don’t lose sight of how lucky they are.
Last night I placed an order at Lee Valley for the hardware for my workbench. A need? Definitely not. I’ve had those items in my online basket for awhile, but felt bad spending that kind of money on drawer slides. Will we have to go without groceries because of it? No. Will I feel happy when that box arrives? You bet your bottom dollar I will. Some of you may be thinking that it’s temporary happiness and that it will pass, and maybe I’ll be written off as shallow, but I can assure you that I’ll feel happiness each and every time I use my someday completed workbench. I’ll also experience great happiness building it.
Yes, perhaps the best things in life are free, but they are much easier to enjoy when all your energy isn’t spent on making ends meet. There, I think I summed up what I’ve been trying to say. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it sure prevents a lot of headaches.
Money doesn’t fix stupid either, I suppose I should add that in. There’s a show on TV about lottery wins changing people’s lives. Duh. Stupid people who win a lot of money are just rich and stupid. But take someone with solid morals and values and a good work ethic, and give them a pile of money and I think they would tell you that it helped their happy-meter. I’d like to think so.
I didn’t win an actual lottery, but I’m living a lifestyle that 90some % of the world’s population could never imagine living. So I guess being born in a country where I could get an education that led to a job that led to a paycheque that led to the house that has food and a fridge is like winning the lottery.
And I’m pretty happy about that.
11:17 There. I like money. I’ve said it. Who’s with me?
-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.