And ten things to take into consideration
Since romanticism has spread globally like an airborne virus, it was almost inevitable that I would also get infected in the end. I had been a hopeless romantic for many years, and it was a struggle all the way through.
Movies like The Princess Bride or Serendipity, watched unfortunately during the impressible young stages of life, had familiarised me with concepts such as true love, waiting for the one and soulmates, and, for insisting on those unrealistic expectations of love, I paid the price.
Art and entertainment, especially literature, music, and cinema, has been feeding the public with bullshit stories and useless, harmful, Utopian ways of being for two and a half centuries now.
So in the context of being a hopeless romantic, there was a time I was utterly indifferent towards money. I had recently rediscovered my passion at the time, which was to be an author, and most people used to mock me, saying I would starve to death. My response was “As long as I do what I love, I don’t give a shit about money. I could live in a cardboard box if I were to write”.
Oh my God, I was naive. How can you feed on love, you idiot? What are you going to eat? Your pages?
I had the luxury to be romantic and a dreamer because I was lucky enough to have my parents around. Otherwise, I would end up like Knut Hamsun’s protagonist in “Hunger.”
What I was unable to distinguish at the time was the invisible but tangible way in which all things connect. To write you need a clear head, you need ideas; you need mental energy, you need the opportunity to experience some things, and, definitely, you don’t need to worry about what the next day brings. You need some stability and certainty. Hence, you need to grow up and get a fucking job that pays consistently.
Yes, a job robs you of many hours and energy during the day, but it’s a compromise you have to make. You need to sacrifice something to move towards your goal. But now thanks to your job, you got some money in your account. Maybe you can rent a small flat and pay its bills. You buy a beautiful ergonomic desk and a comfortable chair. You optimise your surroundings to bring the best out of you. You make your place unique and personal and beautiful. You buy a piece of art, you rescue a stray dog and become the best pals, you play the kind of music that excites you without worrying you might annoy someone. In your place you are entirely free, for the first time in your life, to express yourself honestly.
Your very own place, where everything is how you want it to be, where nobody messes with your stuff and your notes, where nobody opens the door disrespectfully when you write since they don’t regard what you do as work. You have solitude, privacy, independence and you are distraction-free. It’s been a while since the last time you were so productive, not only because you have your own place, but because having a job puts your day in order. You work let’s say 9 to 5, so then you know 5 to 9 would be your writing time. When the whole day is in front of you, you think you have time, and you postpone, and you procrastinate, and you do nothing eventually. But when you only have five hours to write at least a page or two, you get serious.
OK, but now the combination of a full-time job and exhausting writing sessions wears you out. You need to rest and replenish your energy. Now that you have money you can invest in a good mattress, some nice sets of linens and a memory foam orthopaedic pillow. The quality of your sleep skyrockets and you wake up relaxed and refreshed. The quality of what you put inside your body upscale as well. You no longer go for the cheaper option out there, but for the more nutritious one. You afford it now. You get energised and healthy, and that shows on your skin and your mood, and that’s important because mood affects your perception and you have to like what you write at least some of the times. That’s what encourages you to continue with excitement and passion. Once in a while, you need to feel you are good at what you love.
The list of benefits goes on, but you get the point. To get things done, you need energy. To replenish that energy you need rest, food, some stability and safety, so as not to get worn out of worrying about survival and the future.
Money can guarantee you those things.
Only after you have satisfied these basic needs, you can move on with self-actualisation. So if you want to fulfil your dreams, achieve your goals, build something that lasts and make an actual impact in the world, first you have to eat.
As a guy who has no steady job, no place of his own and he is still relying to some extent on his parents — because he lives in the country where dreams currently go to die, Greece — I am really fed up with all these romantic nonsense like “money can buy a house but not a home” or “money can buy a book but not knowledge” or “money can buy you a clock but not time”.
How about money can help you buy a house so you can turn it into a home?
How about money can help you buy a book so you can read it and absorb its wisdom?
How about money can’t buy you time but can buy you a car and help you save time by eliminating waiting for the bus?
Money can be the means that lead to a better life…
… if you let it.