Money, that’s what I want…

Inspired by The Happiness Project book, I’ve been reflecting on my view of money and whether or not money can indeed buy happiness.
Money can make ‘problems’ go away.  Leaky roof: pay someone to fix it.  Hungry: buy some snacks.  Friends got you down: buy some new ones… More Money: fewer problems.
It also causes it too.  A financial fuck-up can put a huge strain on a relationship.  Lack of money is a huge stressor.  The quest to get more money can cause strife.
I took a large pay cut from what I was used to when I started my current job.  At first it started as an ‘in the meantime’ job until I found something that paid better, but it grew on me.  I’ve found myself actually liking the job for the most part, and I feel I’m starting to remember the traits that made me a good manager in my pre-Walmart days.  And that pay cut? Well it stings less than it did when I first started.  I made some cuts which seemed extreme and binding at the time, now seem normal almost, with my previous ways excessive.   (I have tracked all my money in a spreadsheet for years, and while I’ve never been what I would consider foolhardy with my money, I certainly used to splurge a great deal more.)
Yes, I can only afford to go out with friends once a month, if I save up for it.  Yes, I have to wear what’s in my closet and not buy something new.  Yes, I have to say “I don’t have money for that” at least once a day.  But I’m starting to be ok with that.
Being bound by my new budget made me very careful with the Christmas shopping.  It made me seek out more free events.  It made me make decisions on what was important (I had to give notice at my position of “drinking buddy” and going out once a month, in order to be able to afford more guitar lessons next year).  It’s caused me to reevaluate my current goals, and life goals and see that I might be way off or ill prepared.
I’m going to write a book in 2015.  That’s a goal I’ve had since I was in elementary school.  And all I have to show for it is a short novella I don’t feel I relate to anymore.   I might not have made this proclamation had I been at my old job, and been given the opportunity just scrape by each month.
So does money buy happiness?  No, but it doesn’t dismiss it either.  Your relationship, or lack there of, determines it’s effects on your happiness.   I thought I had the view of money being a limited resource that should be saved and invested.  But when I didn’t have the money anymore to save and invest, I learned I was just using it as a means of a crutch to hid from what my true desires in life were.  I was successful because I added to my retirement plan every year.  I was successful because I was ahead on my mortgage.  I was successful because I had money left in my pocket once all the bills were paid.
But I still had a bucket list full if things I hadn’t done yet.  I hated my job.  I hadn’t thought of writing in years.  Money actually diminished potential happiness for me.

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A Pocket Full of Sunshine

I’ve recently stumbled upon a book through the Todoist blog about a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  With New Year’s Resolutions season creeping up, it seemed too perfect of a time to give this one a read.
It’s been quite a read so far, to the point where I almost wished I had a paper copy of the book (I’m currently reading The ebook version) so I could make notes on my phone.
“Hey, Amanda, why not just get out a note pad and make notes on it while you read the ebook?”
Because I’ll loose the note pad.  Or get annoyed with having to re – enter my notes on Evernote that I’ll never get around to it, that’s why.
It’s reminded me of 2013 when I first made my vow to have more fun.  Some of her ideas are great and I can’t wait to implement my own version… but some of them… well… I’m broke and have to work 40 hours or more a week to avoid homelessness…
First item I’m going to duplicate: Amanda’s 10 Commandments.

Dear 2014…

Dear 2014,
I dislike you.
You’re a bully.
You’ve kept me under your thumb for 11 straight months.   And there’s nothing I can do about it.
Go fuck yourself.

Dear 2015,
Let’s pretend we are old friends.  Fake it till you make it, right?
I’m a writer at heart but I keep forgetting that, so I would like to work on that with you.
I used to read non – fiction for fun and have personal projects.  I’d like to revisit that with you.
I have a bucket list I want to tackle with you.
2013 and I discovered the joy of having fun, which is the only way I was able to survive 2014, and I’d like to grow this concept more with you.
I have high hopes for you and I’m eager to see what you open up for me.
Amanda.