The beginning of the New Year can be a time of changes and a time of re-assessment of life’s decisions. In The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, BB tells his daughter:
For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
While the movie was a tad longer than necessary, what was nice and sincere about it was that that it makes you look at the concept of time differently, because instead of getting older like everybody else, Benjamin keeps getting younger. For most of us, as we get older we get a vaguely uncomfortable feeling that somehow, time is running out. Actually, time is just the way it always has been. What’s really running out is you. And with this comes that inevitable realisation that you want to do something meaningful before you get run out or run over.
Doing something meaningful means different things for different people. It could involve travelling, volunteering, learning new languages and skills, learning a new type of dance, spending more time with your loved ones, raising a family or a dog, making a film, living on a farm and a thousand other things that make living worthwhile. But even though what Benjamin Button says is quite profound, what he doesn’t address are the really practical, day-to-day issues of life. In other words, he doesn’t tell you who is going to pay for all your bills while you are off living this life of incredible meaning. This is the main reason most people want to be millionaires. It is not to simply own a lot of money, but to be able to do a lot of things that money can afford. J.M. Keynes, like any decent economist should, has something quite wonderful to say about money. He writes:
The love of money as a possession — as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life — will be recognised for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease …
Assuming that for most of us, money is only a means to the end of living a more fulfilling life, how exactly do you go about living the life you want and not worry about money? There are people who have achieved just this i.e. live the life they want without worrying about money and more importantly, have been generous enough to document this for whoever wants to know. For instance, Matt Kepnes who loves to travel has managed to turn his love of travel into a lucrative profession by blogging about it. He now lives soley off his online endeavours and his NomadicMatt website alone brings in close to $3,000 per month. Read his Q.& A. with the NYTimes for tips on a DIY money-making travel blog.
For those of you working a long 40 hour week through the biting recession, take a look at Maneesh Sethi’s video on how he has successfully managed to enjoy a 4 hour work week.
If you have ideas on how to live a more meaningful life without having to worry about money, it would be great to hear about it. Otherwise just have a great year!