Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Money Series: A Good Job vs. A Good Life

My post for the Carnival of Natural Parenting last week sparked some great comments that I really wanted to respond to.  Here's one:

Kristin @ Intrepid Murmurings said...
Your arrangement sounds solid and easy to follow and I agree with Lauren, I don't hear about it going this way very often! My husband and I pool our finances and I pay bills and I agree, there is some issues that can crop up with this method!
I love your family mission statement and seeing how your financial attitude and practices work into that. Very inspiring!
In case you missed it, here is our Family Mission Statement:

We choose to live in Freedom and Joy.
We love each other with Patience and Kindness.
We work to create Beauty and Order.
We bring to others Harmony and Trust.

The most important part of our Family Mission Statement is that We Choose to live in Freedom and Joy.  This explains why we reject the controlled-based model of the public education system.  It explains why we have no fixed bedtimes.  It explains why our days are free from rigid schedules.

And it also explains why Partner-Guy goes to a job everyday that he dislikes and that he is, in the minds of some of his bosses, ill-suited for.  He chooses to give up his Freedom so that he can go to a job where he is generously compensated in order to give his family a life of Freedom and Joy.  It's a big sacrifice.  He is not fulfilling his potential and he is certainly not inspired or intrinsically rewarded by his job.  He chooses to keep his job so that he can give his family a good life.  It's quite the trade-off.

Honestly, I have not met very many people who have found a way to make a decent income doing what they love.  To be able to live every day fulfilling your potential while also earning money is probably my ultimate definition of success.  It is the dream that I hold for my children.

The Freedom needed to achieve our full potentials is no small deal.  It requires uninterrupted time and space.  It requires an environment where failure is appreciated just as much as success.  In fact, it requires a whole new definition of success.  Freedom to reach the highest and fullest expressions of ourselves is really what our family is all about, but it can't happen if we don't have a sustained, substantial income.

I sometimes feel guilty that I get to stay home while Partner-Guy goes to work.  He often says that my job at home is harder than his at work, but there is a very big difference:  I do only what I want to while he is obligated to do whatever his job requires whether he wants to or is good at it or not.  I never expected a man to financially support me, and I am very, very grateful for his willingness to do so.  I never take it for granted.

How we spend our money is always about Choices, but how we make our money is also about Choices.  I would be thrilled if Partner-Guy could find a way to make money doing what he loves (running, talking about running, watching other people run, priming his body for more running) but so far that hasn't happened.   We look forward to his retirement in 10 years so that he can pursue more of his own dreams.  And meanwhile, I am working on finding a way to add to our family  income while doing what I love to do and while using my talents.

Have you considered the difference between a good job and a good life?  What choices has your family had to make?

1 comment:

  1. I wrote a long comment, and then the computer said I didn't have permission to view the page! Weird. I will try doing it with name/URL instead of Google, and we'll see how it goes.

    Briefly, I was just saying that my husband takes the same view, that life is more important than work, and that work is to support life. However, his job was making him miserable, so he is slowly making a career change as he finishes his degree. The new job is one that uses his talents and suits his personality, which is a lot more than his old line of work! And, of course, it will pay the bills. The transition has been hard, but I think it's worth it.