I guess the following is connected to my previous entry Just One More Thing and I’ll Be Happy
Several years ago I noticed that I wasn’t naturally going to get bigger, stronger or faster effortlessly anymore. Things don’t come to you – you have to go get them. An old man with a business once told me “I don’t care what anybody else does, so long as they aren’t bothering my ass”.
Successfully acquiring material goods and bragging to friends, coworkers and family will get you nowhere. In fact, it might be a way to hide the fear lurking in the back of your mind. Pay off what you owe, save some money, spend what’s comfortable and when friends brag – “keep calm and carry on”; say nothing.
I see people all stressed out with every toy under the sun and two kids involved in every sport, music class, or whatever. They both spend all their money to impress. I see other people with two kids who play the sports they want, the parents spend what’s reasonable and have a lower stress, but higher quality family time.
When you age, nobody asks if their friend is still successful; the question is – is their friend still alive. All the old people I have seen have sold off all their expensive things and toys, live in a home/drive a car that suits their needs and are just thankful for good health and good family.
You may be stressed again and again in life until you find the right work-play-family balance. After that, you are set. I might see you walking down the street with a clear mind and fashioned with a little smirk. It’s like when the economy is down, you’ll just be happy to be able to pay bills and put food on the table. Sometimes the economy dragging its behind is a good reality check for people living beyond their means.
People may have many successful (and committed heavy hour) jobs and expensive gadgets as they want – they aren’t yours, so who cares? I’ve got a friend who probably gets half of his furniture used, only buys things on sale, drives his vehicles to the ground, and doesn’t wear brands for the sake of wearing brands. He doesn’t have many toys, owns his business, his home is paid off and he has investments. He’s forever on vacation because he can be. He’s got a long time to go before retirement but if he decides to retire now he can – that’s the beauty. People come in to his business, driving high-end cars, still reeking of foie gras lunches and brag to him, meanwhile, we who know him laugh because his lack of debt is exactly what the show-offs wish they could, for a lack of a better word, show-off.
Live within your means – life is what you make it!