“This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movement of small green pieces of paper, which was odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.”
― Douglas Adams
I was talking to a friend recently.
A real close friend and a cousin brother but with thoughts completely opposite to mine. I like to discuss thoughts with him. It gives me a contrary view to my beliefs and philosophies.
I have often seen him humiliating people who are poor in terms of money from him irrespective of whether they are happy or not. For him, a person can only be happy if he has too many small pieces of green paper. (He is elder than me, he earns big bucks for his age.)
I have seen him de-meaning everything and everyone who thinks or says that Money is not the most important thing in life. That includes me.
I have seen him laughing my thoughts off. I have seen him laughing on people who claim to be Minimalists. I have seen him laughing at people who claim to be more happy with less.
For him such people are lazy. Or delusional. For him such people don’t understand what success is. For him such people are stupid and they will end up alone with their stupid philosophies and theories.
For him only real power is money. Only thing that matters is a big bungalow, a bigger car, expensive clothes, lots of credit cards- basically everything that can be bought. He thinks people are tool. And only real success comes from earning big bucks.
He spends lavishly and if I might add unnecessarily. Just to show people that he can spend. Somehow it ties to his self worth. I am yet to understand how.
Basically completely opposite of me.
I have been close to this friend of mine. Childhood friend. And I must admit, I thought the same few months back, probably. Or maybe worse.
He is not wrong. He has become a slave.
Let me say right here- I don’t think earning or even wanting money is bad. I am not saying to take a exile and live without money. No, I am not saying that. You can have money. You can want money. You can buy things. That’s perfectly fine. I don’t say that’s wrong. I need money, myself obviously. To sustain. And it plays a crucial role in being happy.
But money is a tool. You’re not.
He has become a slave.
He thinks, he is happy. I don’t see how.
He works 16 hours a day. At the job which he admits he doesn’t like. At all. He is on phone most of the times. Or on the internet. Or on excel. He has no freedom. He doesn’t travel within the city also.
His hair has started to fall and turn grey at the age of 24. He is almost always angry. He is either thinking about minting money or thinking about how he can spend the money.
To match his lavish thinking, he keeps on taking loan and credit cards. I guess he has two big loans on his head excluding the student’s loan his parents took for him. Also, not to forget his credit card(s) statement.
He hardly saves. He is in outrageous debts at this age itself. He has an overly expensive car which he hardly uses, a big flat with 4 rooms in a lavish area where he lives ALONE.
He is addicted to alcohol and smoking. He looks almost twice his age. He is overly obese due to his extremely unhealthy eating habits.
He keeps shouting on everyone and anyone. He has no compassion left. He has no kindness left. He helps no-one. He lives alone.
He had a relationship in the past- he broke it off. He had real close friends in the past- he got out of contact.
Now either he works or he sits at his 4 room apartment- alone. Or he goes out to drink alcohol. Smokes regularly. Or go to pretentious clubs and parties and office gatherings.
And he comes and tell me that, he is happy.
Probably for the society and according to it, he is happy.
For them, he is successful.
He fits the success template created by us perfectly- A titled corporate job, big house, big car, expensive clothes, an overly filled wallet with lots of credit cards- Perfect match found.
He has everything in terms of Society believes one should have for fitting in that template. Everything except himself.
I have known him since years now. Years. He wasn’t always like that. He used to be happy. He used to be compassionate. He used to be kind. He used to have people and relations as his priority. He used to live.
Burdened with societal expectations and perceptions, he decided to become a slave- slave of money. Little pieces of paper.
He exchanged his life, happiness and freedom in order to gain little pieces of paper.
He has money now. At least on the surface.
But let me ask you, was it worth it?
And probably, I was heading at the same path. And I was becoming a slave. I was. Not anymore.
I don’t see money with the same eyes. I own money. And not vice-verse.
I want money so that my life can be comfortable and so that it adds to my happiness. Not destroys it.
I want money so that I can live independently. Without depending on my parents or for that matter anyone else.To live with freedom. I don’t want to earn so that instead I get dependent on pieces of paper.
It is not about being a miser. Not even about not spending on things that add value or bring happiness.
It is about asking. Asking, “Is that purchase worth my freedom?”
For every rupee or dollar or pound, you spend. You give it a right to chunk off a bit of freedom from your life. Look around, you think all these things are worth your freedom?
If yes, then well done.
If no, we have a problem.
Think about what status you give to money. Those little pieces of paper. Think before making them the most crucial thing in your life. And it is not some idealistic bullshit. I don’t do that. You need money. But you need to own it. Own those pieces of paper. They can’t own you.
Quit being slave of money. Today.
Be more than that. Be human.
You’re much more than that. So much more. Fly, my friend. Fucking Fly.
What do you think about money? Let me know via comments!
*Part of the Series- Gems of Minimalism