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.

1 Comment

  • “So, if the world is rigged against” what? Where were you going with that? (And if you went somewhere, why do Chrome and Firefox not show me Where That Was?)

    I think you hit on the basic dividing line: one’s view of money. If one views money an end in and of itself, they’ll tend to be more “successful” in generating “profit” (which, if one considers carefully, is the most heinous word in the English language.) If one looks at money as a means to an end, the group I happen to think is “smarter” (and also the group I most associate with from emotional and ideological perspectives), their focus will be elsewhere–in fairness of transaction, in feeling good about an exchange that helps others as it helps us, etc. This latter group is often call “Losers” by The Profit Seekers.

    Each one of us is going to be forced into a more evolved relationship with money in the years (months? DAYS?) ahead. Much of what we think is valuable is ponzi finance built on accounting fraud. Once the bail-ins start HERE, people will have to come to terms with what “money” really means, and if the debt-based spun gold of digits in electronic ledgers is it more important to them than food or potable water, and if the former can’t purchase the latter, does MONEY mean anything at all? I imagine the “losers” will have a far easier period of adjustment than the Profiteers will once this inevitable realization takes hold.

    More to your (unspoken) question, is there justice in human social economic interaction? Answer: sometimes, generally a surprise when it happens, and something NEVER to be taken for granted. Those moments/exchanges happen, but industrial capitalism discourages them, and so we’re left with only the small minority of our transactions working that way. It’s easy to say society is engineered that way–and it certainly DOES appear that way, but that doesn’t excuse the “losers” from accepting the system on some level that allows them to live within the structures that Society provides for those that “go along”. We’re in the Sixth Great Extinction here, and ignorance of the laws doesn’t bring back however many SPECIES ended as I was composing this posting. I guess I’m saying: less culpable is still culpable.

    But then, I’m just a cynical doomer, so what do I know?

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