Do you want to be rich? Seriously. Is it something you daydream about? If so, is it in the “but I never will” way or is it in the “I gotta find a way” way or is it in the “it’s inevitable” way? I have to admit I think I will one day be rich, but I don’t know how. I’ve had two close calls, close enough that I daydreamed about it in the “it’s inevitable” way. The first time was when my father had started his software company and had raised $10 million in venture capital and were close to profitability. We even had the dinner table talk about what we’d do when we had more money. It was inevitable. And then the cancer came back, and the company fell apart without him. And then there was walking around Snoqualmie. Amazon’s stock was going up $10/day and everyone who had been hired 2 years before me was rich. I figured it would be two years for me too, since I knew nothing about the stock market. And then the bubble burst.
There is no third close call. There are a few far calls, and there are also dips and possible bankruptcies and a whole lot of debt, more than I’ve ever had before by several orders of magnitude, but the daydreaming is still there in the “I gotta find a way” way. Well actually it’s not “I gotta” it’s “I wanna”. In a “why not?” sort of way. I’ve got love, I’ve got friends, I’ve got health, I’ve got motivation, I’ve got youth and the endless possibility of the universe. Why not want everything when it doesn’t make you less happy with what you have? This is the secret to wanting more, I think. Wanting more while feeling grateful for what you have and not taking your own happiness, ecstasy even, for granted. With that secret, it’s not about escaping poverty, or hating anything about your current life. It’s about not underestimating the depth and the breadth of possibility in this life. This is not a practice life. Experience, and wanting, and trying, and getting or failing, and feeling, and sharing these thoughts and those experiences… that’s what I want more than anything else. To make the best of what we have, even when what we have is already amazing beyond our wildest dreams. And giving something back.
It’s strange that I feel guilty for wanting to be rich. Should people feel guilty for wanting to be healthy? For wanting to be in love? For wanting great friends and a great job and a perfect life? Most people reach homeostasis with money and create a philosophy that prevents them from wanting more, or wanting less. Why not gamble and strive and tumble around just to see what it feels like? Is it vaguely hedonistic? Is hedonism still out of fashion?
I don’t know why I’m thinking about this. Probably because I’m nervous about money this year, and how my goal to “care about my finances for a year” has really led to some interesting experiences (it’s actually been almost 2 years of caring at this point). But this article was entertaining as a reminder of just how much social, economic, philosophical, and emotional treasure and trash there is around this topic: