Money matters

As much as I’d love to believe that we can all live on happiness and that passion will sustain us through any hardships, I know that’s simply not true.  So, in honor of it being Monday and another day back at the grindstone for most folks with 9-5 lives, I thought I’d share a few great quotes about money.

These are both from Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham:

“Money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five.  Without an adequate income half the possibilities of life are shut off.” (p. 251)

“It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank, and independent.” (p. 251)

And this is from a letter from John Steinbeck where he quotes his former teacher Edith Mirrielees on why she advised  him to go live in Europe while he tried to become a writer:

“…in Europe poverty is a misfortune, but in America it is shameful. I wonder whether or not you can stand the shame of being poor.”

And this one I must have pulled from Patricia C. Wrede’s blog at some point:

“…following your dreams and having fun is far more important than making a lot of money, because you can always make more money if you run out, but you can’t bring back a dream that you’ve passed up for too long.”

So, where do I fall on the whole debate of pursuing money versus pursuing passion?  First, I we all need a base level of money available whether from savings or work that lets us be well-housed and adequately fed.  If you can’t interact with those around you because you don’t have the resources to clothe and clean yourself, then it’s time to put basic survival ahead of your dreams.  Same with not having adequate health – food, medicine, sleep, etc.  If you can’t function well enough to pursue your passion, then better to set it aside until you can.

To me, basic sustenance has to be priority one.

But, I also think you have to be willing to risk your security to pursue your passions.  And that a lot of things we think are “essential” are not.  Believe it or not, most of us could function just fine without cellphones or home internet or cable TV or Starbucks.

It wouldn’t be as convenient, but sometimes it’s a good idea to step back and see where all that money goes.  Because once you do, you may realize that you could do with far less money than you think you need.  Which means you may be much closer to pursuing that passion than you think you are.

(This is what happens when I have to do real work.  I get all introspective about whether I really, really need to do it or whether I couldn’t just live on passion and writing.  Answer: Yes, I really need to do that paying work, too.  Because a stressed out about money writer, is not a good writer.  What’s that Pitbull line?  “Scared money don’t make money”?)

(And while it’s good to have a bit of a safety net in place, just make sure the safety net doesn’t turn into a spider web that traps you somewhere you don’t want to be.)  (Wow – that was a bad analogy, but you get the point.)

(Now, back to doing that thing that pays the bills…)

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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