Things and People

I don’t really care about money. At least not in the sense of acquiring things. I mean, things are nice. I like things. Sometimes I think about having things, and I think I would be happier surrounded by things. And maybe I would be. I guess I’ll never know what that feels like.

I like nice things. I like having enough. I like taking trips. I would like to think that someday I might have new living room furniture and a new dining room table. I sometimes feel that if I had those things right now, I’d be happier than I am right now. Maybe I would be. I guess I don’t know.

But I don’t care so much about things that I would abandon people. There will never be a point when having things will be more important than my family, for instance. But there will also never be a point when having things will be more important to me than complete strangers either. Things are not more important than people. Any people. Not just my people.

I never intended to make a great deal of money when I decided to major in journalism. I never intended to make a great deal of money when I left journalism to explore nonprofit work. (Although I did think it would be more stable. lol) I have never intended to make a great deal of money. I was never taught that it was important to make a great deal of money. I was told to follow my heart, my passions. Money was never part of the equation when I considered what I was meant to do with my life.

I don’t really care about money. At least not in the sense of acquiring things. Or power. Or prestige. But I do care about raising a family. I do care about sending kids to college. I do care about retirement. Someday. (Ha!)

And it does, sometimes, make me sad to know how hard I work, and to know that isn’t reflected in my paycheck. But I would guess most people feel this way. Even the filthy rich probably feel this way. I mean, is there really a point when we stop wanting more? There should be. But there doesn’t seem to be.

I don’t know what it is like to have all of the things. I don’t know if that would make me happier. I think most studies prove that insurmountable wealth does not satisfy all human desires. I do believe, at our core, we are more than that. We are people who need people. Not things.

There’s a lot in life that isn’t fair. The fact that American culture only values certain kinds of jobs and roles in society is one of them.  I could dwell on this all day. Some days I do.

On the days when it seems like too much. When the workload is overwhelming. When the checking account only seems to dwindle. When the big things, the important things like having a family and providing for that family seem so far out of reach. I think about what my life would be like if I chose one of those careers that is so tremendously rewarded in our society of things.

Usually, these careers are not about people.

I think about how much less I would worry. How much I could provide for the people I love. I imagine that my life would be easier. Maybe it would be. Maybe it wouldn’t be. But I think it’s safe to say I wouldn’t lie awake at night adding it all up and wondering how we will get there.

But would I have my dignity? My conscience? Could I really live with myself if providing for my family came at the expense of another?

I would like to believe that I couldn’t. I would like to believe that if I were presented with a choice of a career of things with six figures and a career of people with half the salary that I would choose to serve people. Always.

But I guess I’ve never been faced with that decision.

I guess I don’t really know.

But I would hope.  As long as I live.

I don’t really care about money.  At least not in the sense of acquiring things.

“At the end of the day, you have to be able to ask yourself…is what I am doing right?”  ~ My Dad

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