Thursday, December 22, 2011

A man provides

I am never going to be a millionaire.

It's just not going to happen. And I could blame it on the government, or the fatcats hoarding all the wealth, or the foreigners taking all the jobs. But the truth is that I'm scared. The thought of that much money scares me. I'm convinced that the more money I earn, the less I will sleep. Whether it's what I would have to give up to come by that money, or what risk I would have to take, my fear is what holds me back from going after it as hard as I could.

This wouldn't be much of a problem if I didn't have a family to put food on. The standard line of thinking for a breadwinner goes like this: the more money you make, the less time you get to spend with your family. You hear it over and over again: "I don't get to see my kids much, but those kids live well." Presumably, the lifestyle you are able to provide for your family is supposed to make up for all the time when you're not around. I don't think that necessarily follows, but that's not what bothers me.

What bothers me is this hypothetical scenario: What if you hardly get to spend any time with your family, but they don't, in fact, live well? Are you still a good man? If you work as hard as you can but don't bring in enough to afford a particular standard of comfort, can you still be considered a good provider? Or are you limited by your circumstances?

I don't have an answer to this any more than I have a million dollars. But I know I would do anything for my family, including stuff that depresses me and hours of my life that I know are not worth it (not that any of that is relevant -- it's just, if I had to). They are the priority, not me. The truth is, I don't feel like any amount of money I could ever make would be enough for them. I would give them all my money just for existing, because there's nothing I could spend it on that could equal what they've given me. I don't care how corny that sounds, this is real talk. But if no amount of my money would be good enough for them, then no amount of time would be good enough to spend with them either.


Wendy McMillan said...

Probably one of my favorite all time Breaking Bad moments. And what you said was cool too. I was actually thinking about posting on this topic after we took the money mind test.

Austin said...

All good points. I've struggled as every human being born to privilege (by privilege I mean mostly American) between do I want to work real hard and give my kids "the life (ie money) I didn't get?" or do I want to put work second and devote as much time and love to them as I can, also giving them the life (ie time) I didn't get?

I think and hope that eventually I'll look back on my life and regret only a few things, and I hope that the decision I've made to spell love t-i-m-e is infinitely better than m-o-n-e-y.

Just my 2 cents, thanks for posting and for reading my ramblings. :)