Saving Instead

Money.  I think it really all changed for me when the paycheck stopped being directly deposited.  No more magical appearance of funds into my checking account twice a month.  I say ‘magical’ – it wasn’t like I didn’t work for the money that appeared, but it was abstract.  I would go to my sales job, have my conversations, review and prepare, put in the effort, and money would be deposited every other week into my account.  It is the upside to having a salaried job.  Then the transition to running my small business full time.  That is really when everything changed.

I think many people have the dream of chucking corporate America and pursuing their dreams full time.  There have even been songs written about it.  I remember bouncing around the backseat of my parents’ Oldsmobile (did any of us wear seatbelts in the backseat in 1982?), ‘Take This Job and Shove It’ playing on the radio.   I can now vouch from experience that chucking it is incredibly liberating.  But along with that liberation of no longer having to answer to a manager, a director, and your coworkers for getting your share of the work done, you are now responsible for producing a viable product that people will pay for and answering to the customers that pay for it.  And a mind that usually wants to think about it 24/7.

When your work life transitions from a 30-40 hour work week to answering email after you put the kids to bed, racing to get your orders done by 4:45 with no breaks during the day (unless I could count standing by the kitchen counter inhaling a fist full of almonds) so you can get to the post office by five, and having to be in the shop 16 hours a day during the holidays, it can help one to put life in perspective.  Priorities change.  I know it did for me.

When I started this business, I specifically wrote down that I had two main motivations – to be able to make jewelry for a living and to make plenty of money doing it.  And those goals worked for a while.  But after living as described in the paragraph above, I reevaluated.

There are some lucky ones that figure it out early in life.  I count myself lucky that I figured it out at forty.   What did I figure out, you ask?  Here it is:

Time is the most valuable resource in life.

A non-renewable resource.  We all see the posters, the Instagram posts – Be in the moment.  The present is our greatest gift.  Be where you are.  Even though these are all spot on, I think seeing and hearing these things all of the time just made it into another inspirational phrase that should be on a poster with a picture of a hunky guy holding a baby or a cat hanging by its claws from curtains.

But living days where there is literally no.down.time will quickly make you start to question the purpose of life.  The “why are we here?” and “what is it all about?” questions.

It also makes you realize pretty quickly that like anything in life, money is energy.  It is the exchange of my time and and energy (and in this line of work, sometimes blood) for a resource I can then use to buy other things or services.   The medium – a piece of paper that man has mutually agreed can be exchanged for goods.  Something tangible for something abstract.

I’ve been wrestling with this for a while now.  I know money is something that touches all of our lives on a daily basis. It is one of the most powerful resources we have to make an impact on what we care about.  None of our money stories exist in a vacuum – it takes us exchanging it to make it real.  So for the next while, I am going to use this space to write about it.  How we relate to money, the spiritual impacts of money,  how it affects our lives on a daily basis, and some of the things we can do to make it count.  I would love to hear your thoughts and stories as time goes on and, hopefully, inspire each other in the process.

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