Making a Living or Making a Life?

Making a Living or Making a Life?

A friend, Clara, was telling me recently how much she looked forward to lunch dates with friends, evenings and weekends.  This surprised me a bit because she has a good job, although with responsibility, and her work seems to be interesting.  In answer to my question as to why this should be, she admitted that, although she did enjoy the work and got on well with her colleagues, they were all stressed by the demands of their directors.  Higher and higher productivity was called for and quality control ensured that no corners could be cut.  Although the level of output of each staff member was reflected in their annual reports on which their future salary increases were based, it took no account of the fact that some cases could be dealt with quickly but others took far longer to unravel.  What should have been a pleasant way of earning a living had become too stressful to enjoy.


Taking a Leap of Faith

This is a familiar situation to many people; either we’re living it ourselves or we know people who are and that got me thinking about Jeannot, a work colleague from way back.  He was probably in his mid- to late forties and great fun to be with.  Employed as a senior researcher, his real passion in life was anything connected with volcanos.  Taking three months’ unpaid leave every year enabled him to travel the world and study his favourite subject.  To make ends meet financially he sold insurance at evenings and weekends.


His life was simplicity itself: he had a modest little apartment and a terrible old car with the front passenger seat roped to the door to stop his passenger from being dumped across his lap when he went round a bend; girlfriends came and went and he probably preferred it that way although with his charm, looks and sense of humour he could have been considered a good catch.


Bad News or Good News?

When one of the regular financial crises came along, the institute where we worked had to downsize and in order to save money, most of Jeannot’s experienced colleagues were replaced by employees straight out of university who could be paid lower salaries.  As he was able to negotiate six months leave without pay each year; he kept his job and his salary and could spend even more time travelling.  He was well content with that.


The Meaning of Our Lives

We are only here for a short time and I suppose how we live boils down to a couple of things.  One is having a passion for something and taking the leap of faith to follow what makes us truly happy.  That way we lead a charmed life.  The other is probably fear; fear that if we let go of something we may not find anything else and this applies to jobs, relationships, possessions, you name it.  I understand that totally and have been there myself many times in the past, but it’s no way to live and I remember when I started learning about abundance (which at the time I thought related only to having money).  It was staggering to discover that wealthy people have more money worries than ‘poor’ people.  And by poor people I don’t mean those who can’t afford to house and feed themselves, but people who consider that they have to submit to all sorts of constraints to buy the things that make life pleasant.  Iz is said that if we had more money in the bank or in our wallets than we could spend in one normal afternoon, then we were financially sound.


Jeannot didn’t care about being financially sound.  He told me he had some priceless books on volcanos which weren’t insured because they could never be replaced if they were lost or stolen.  He took the view that if they did disappear from his life for any reason then he would be upset but he wouldn’t lose sleep over it.


©2015Jili Hamilton

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