Friday, October 14, 2011

Love Or Money?

Or Something In Between...

I would say the very blessed among us get to make a solid living doing what we love most and essentially "being ourselves".

Then there are those of us who make a marginal living doing what we love, keeping a roof over our heads, but always somewhat worried about money.

There are those who make a living at something related to what they love, where they make more money but are a step or two removed from their true passion, like a musician who teaches or manages a music store.

And then there are people with pleasant enough day jobs who enjoy but don't love their work, and who use their spare time to do what they love most.

And there are people who hate their jobs and still don't make enough money to relax and who don't even know what they love.

And those who hate their jobs but make a lot of money at them and so at least don't have to worry about finances.

And a million shades in between.

Being one of those people who've chosen to live a creative life, very close to my heart, but who barely makes a living, I can understand why people are willing to work at jobs they either don't love or even hate, in order to make enough money to live materially the way they want or need to. It's a rational choice that makes sense to me, especially as I get older, with no health insurance or major cushion to fall back on in an emergency.

I know some people would call it "selling out", meaning they've abandoned their creative potential for money, but I don't judge it that way. We all need to pay the bills. We all need to choose what we need versus what we want. We all need to choose how much of our time and energy are going to go into our work. And we need to choose what kind of work that will be. When I see someone in a job they don't seem to like much, but are making plenty of money at, about the worst I'll say is, “Boy the money's nice, but I wouldn't trade lives with them.”

I’ve made my choice and I’m too far down that road to turn back now.

Here are some of my "secrets" to living a creative life close to my heart, without a "day job":

1. Keep expenses down

2. See "needs" as "preferences"

3. Don't have kids (see 1.)

4. Establish more than one creative outlet that also produces income. I am a T'ai-Chi teacher, but I've also written a couple of books (self published), and I'm a singer/songwriter.

5. Don't have a car. (see 1.)

6. Did I mention keeping expenses down?


  1. A friend of mine who lives in Rwanda just wrote me that he is considered an oddity partly because he is over 60 and not being supported by his children. Apparently, to Rwandans, it is a given that no one over 60 who has children would work. My friend is about 63. - N

  2. Even in Rwanda, I'd be broke! No kids...