My place in the world
I wonder often about my place in the world. I’ve shared the fact that I don’t feel like a consumer. I’m also a terribly generous and honest business owner, which, as you might imagine, doesn’t pay as well as being cutthroat. Being a generous and honest business owner means that I like to help people – even people who can’t afford me to charge them for every second of time I spend on their project. This does not mean I’m a bad business person. It means I’m a person, a human. I want to see people succeed. If I could, I’d do what I do for free just to help people.
I am realizing that I have more and more friends who are not getting by very well with their business, who are living off savings or worse. It hit me that these are some of the most conscientious people I know. And they are the ones struggling the hardest. Why is that? Is it because this world is rigged in the favor of money-loving status seekers?
So, if the world is rigged against people like me, where does that leave me? I can be true to myself, taking time to be still and enjoy my humanity, and as a result never quite be getting ahead (and possibly getting behind). Or I can pursue work with a reckless abandon that causes me to lose sight of life’s simple joys but make much more money and feel more “stable”. But what is stable? Is anything stable anymore? If the bottom drops out tomorrow, what will I see when I look back?
I only get this one life. It contains a finite number of days, hours, minutes and seconds. How do I want to spend them? Where is the balance?
Perhaps it is my lack of ability to enjoy every moment with a zen-like grace that I fear. Is it possible to be insanely busy AND peacefully centered? It would seem an embracing of zen would cause one to slow down. In fact, this I feel I have done over the years, which is how I ended up in this predicament – this predicament that makes me question my choice to be slow over the choice to achieve financial “success”.
But at some point, we stop talking about success and start talking about survival. If I live in a way that makes me happy, will I survive in this competitive world? This world that rewards competition over collaboration, capitalism over constancy. Or will I end up living in a cardboard box?
My whole life I’ve been fighting down the odds created for me by growing up with no expectations of success put upon me. I received no guidance in financial intelligence and was given no “connections” with which I could easily gain success. I have fought and (gently) clawed my way to where I am now.
For whatever myriad of reasons, it’s been a struggle. And now that the world seems like it’s growling up my back, that struggle has gotten worse. I feel like it’s time to take my backpack and my Brompton and join the trolls living under the bridge, wiling their days away foraging in the world for their survival.
And then some days it seems like maybe things will be OK.
Maybe I’ll manage to get a leg up.
So, I take deep breath and hope the world will be gentle with me as I plunge ahead.