Thursday, September 21, 2006

Enough is enough?

This post is coming at you courtesy of an email conversation I had with The Repeater. And, like my post on sex, this discusses another taboo topic: money.

Brian and I are basically financially secure. We have a huge-ass mortgage, of course, but other than that, we have few debts. Some student loans and a small car loan, both of which we plan to pay off in the near future. No credit card debt. A decent cushion of savings for emergencies. We're able to say a chunk of our monthly income and contribute to retirement plans.

So why then do I feel this incredible tug toward making more money? My opportunities are in the form of freelance medical writing projects that come my way. Projects that I just don't have time for. Yet every time I say no, I feel guilty and wonder what purpose that money could serve. And mind you, we're not big shoppers. We buy more books than anything else, and spend a decent amount of money on entertainment and vacations, but we're definitely not extravagent. We share a car for Christ sake.

And I think Brian is worse than me. I can envision a time where, assuming we move somewhere cheaper, I would be more than happy to cut my income to be able to make a full time job out of writing (fiction and medical) and teaching. Though B supports my goal, he can't quite fathom the idea of it being OK not to make as much money or more than we make now. He wants to make tons, not so that we can drive a Lexus and have a gold plated house, but because he wants to feel secure, travel more often than we do now, and have plenty of money for kids (if we choose to have them... that's another post altogether!). And I hope he does too. Then I can write and not feel so guilty. :) (No pressure, B!)

I think this whole thing comes down to a societal pressure to always want more. I've managed to avoid the "stuff" aspect of wanting more, but I can't get around the money aspect. It's comforting to know it's there. But at some point I'm going to have to be OK with whatever amount it is and choose a life that balances monetary wealth with satisfaction and time. Best Blogger Tips


TI said...

Bug, I love this post. There is definitely a lot of pressure to have more, or to alter the definition of "enough". This feelingdoesn't change when there is more money coming in (we have 2 cars, and one IS a lexus -- not mine, of course). But I think it's not just societal pressure: I know that one of the assumptions my spouse has had (and I've kind of shared) about me becoming a full time writer is that suddenly I won't be bringing any money in (thanks a lot!). I had a huge worry about becoming financially dependent, therefore putting more pressure on him to keep working hard. But lately I've decided that plenty of people write *for a living*, therefore earn "enough" money, so why not me? And you can't put a price on job satisfaction. Thanks for a great post.

Bug said...

Interesting point, TI. I very well might be able to make a comparable salary if I did a lot of freelance medical writing (which pays pretty well since it's so specialized). Doing that would probably allow me more free time to do creative/fun writing, which would hopefully allow me to make money on that, and cut back on some freelancing...

Bug said...

Oh, and thanks for the compliments! :)

DonPare said...

Sound like a normal fear to me, but there is certainly no amount of money worth putting a strain on your time, time that needs to be spent on your husband, friends, social life, and work that you get pleasure from.

If freelance stuff will get you more bucks, but not allow that other stuff, don't do it!

I should know! Another year of this freelance stuff and I am going to be burned out... :)

GoGo said...

I like your philosophy. I think its important to live with what one has instead of trying to make more and can't really be lived this way.

I hear the guilt thing. Guilt is a crappy feeling - the worst next to isolation, I think. Society tells us to do many you know what's best for you. Sounds like you do.

Repeater said...

And bug, I know this from direct experience: the more you make, the more you spend, at least in my business. I ended up buying things to make myself feel better about not being home, not having a life-- justifying the spending because "I deserve it, I've worked hard." I really do think it is all about balance. Make that time for your artist's dates.

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