I sat down to write and struggled. I struggled to begin for one very simple reason – I am absolutely exhausted! It was as if my brain were saying, “Bitch, just about the only thing I would like to address right now is some god dammed sleep! Fuck you and your words!” Ha-ha. I have been pushing myself lately, quite possibly past both the point I should and more than likely past what is healthy… working.
This year has been an unbelievably loaded one financially; there have been quite the bit of responsibilities that required I pony up. And, I have. But what I am finding is even as I am incredibly grateful and proud that I have been able to meet my obligations, doing so has left me with a feeling of financial vulnerability. As I write every check, I convince myself that I am now required to replenish that… and then just a bit more. Shit, now that I have gotten my brain involved let’s address finances; and, how ensuring we can afford the lives we lead affect us physically and mentally.
Particularly for those of us that live in what I do consider the most exciting city in the world (New York), the demand for our focused attention on our bank accounts is prohibitive. Trust me when I tell you that I absofuckinglutely look at and monitor my accounts on a daily basis! And, I am not in the least bit ashamed or afraid to admit that a large reason for this is that, well, I cannot afford to have any illicit activities or calculation errors. To the penny, I need to know what is happening to and with my money. However, as much I can be applauded for my financial diligence, I cannot help but to acknowledge this may also be an indication that I have carved out an existence that is too dependent on a monetary barometer.
So what about you? Are you similar to me in that there is a corner of you that measures your success or worth by the health of your bank account… even as you know better? Have you fallen prey to the conditioning that aims to convince the trappings are what count? Or have you been able to retain perspective, opting to work hard to get just what you need, realizing what truly will count are the things that rebuff currency – smelling the roses/coffee (whatever the hell that quote is!) and howling at the moon?
So clearly I know what (else) matters. And, I do my best (okay, my lesser best) to try to make room for those things. But I have found what comes naturally to me is the hustle – work/school; taking time off to indulge in those activities whose sole purpose is relaxation or fun, rub up against me in a very unnatural way. My sense of achievement has been hijacked by the constant need to either be making money or educating myself to well, make more money. Somewhere along the life line I have convinced myself that if neither of these two instances were being indulged, I was being irresponsible and certainly non-productive.
“I don’t stop when I’m tired. I stop when I’m done…” I stumbled upon this quote yesterday and as you should be able to imagine, it resonated. But the more I read it and allow the words to swirl around in this brain of mine, I realize that while on one hand what it denotes is certainly admirable, on the other it says something about the culture we have adopted. I mean, think about it…. why don’t I/we stop when we’re tired? Isn’t that kinda okay? Who did the number on us that convinced us tired meant lazy?! Truly. Because that is exactly how I look at it – if I stop before the task is finished – regardless of the demands of same, then my ass is just lazy! So, stop whining and keep going!
The pursuit of things (and hence the money needed to acquired them) has taken over many of our lives. We have bought into the rhetoric and have lost sight of what is truly important – meeting our responsibilities, certainly. But so is our health (mental and physical), our families, our social interactions, our hobbies, our rest. Many days I admit to foregoing the latter part of the list simply to ensure I can achieve and surpass the former obligation. You see, I have been in the position of not being able to take care of myself; when I needed to depend on someone to get me through a very difficult financial time. He did. But the toll that took on me emotionally cannot be as easily quantified as the to-the-penny amount I know he laid out for me (and which I repaid). Now it seems as if I am in a constant quest to replenish what those months took from me emotionally through a sense of financial security that never seems to be sated. A thirst I can never quite quench.
The sacrifice is a significant one. They say that, “Man cannot serve two masters…” and it is indeed true. As with all else, decisions are called to be made with regard to what is more important – a notable quality of life or financial security. Emotionally I reject the notion that they are mutually exclusive, but more and more intellectually I am being forced to realize that in my tax bracket, they (mostly) are. Listen, I do not have (or choose not to allow) too much time for the frivolous in life; too busy trying to ensure I can keep myself in Ensure in my later years J . If yall are looking for me, find me at work or school. But that’s my path, my life… my choice. Make your own. Decide what is important to you, then step out in faith and strength to achieve it. And, don’t stop until you’re done…