Simple, Genuine Goodness Is The Best Capital

“Simple, genuine goodness is the best capital to found the business of this life upon. It lasts when fame and money fail, and is the only riches we can take out of this world with us.” ― Louisa May Alcott

There was a freedom which settled over me when I stopped worrying about my financial future. I finally got to the point where I realized the anxiety was hurting my health. Whatever idea I had created in my mind for what life was going to be like at certain points was not coming true and that incongruity was making me miserable. So I let go of all those assumptions. I let the weight of my unmet expectations fall away. I forgave myself. I realized that my life was going to be different than what I had expected and stopped labelling the change as good or bad.

Once I accepted that I was likely going to be working beyond age 55, I set about trying to figure out how to love the work I was doing. Rather than completely change my career path, (which I considered), I took time to reset my expectations. That sounds easy, but in reality the process was time consuming and emotionally difficult. At the very heart of it all I had to let go of my attachment to money.

Though anxiety around finances may not feel as debilitating as, say, a single traumatic event in our lives, carrying around constant worry over money can have a seriously negative impact on our sense of self. Psychologist Dr. Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D, says some of these attachments can be hard to shake — particularly for women. Since women still earn significantly less than their male counterparts on average, we may want to cling to what they earn more tightly. Other people may have emotional attachments to their money due to growing up in poverty, a previous job loss, or myriad other issues. – Lindsay Tigar, ‘Are You Too Emotionally Attached To Your Money? It Might Be Holding You Back’

For me, earning money to pay for all my obligations was tightly bound to how I felt about myself. Who would I be if I was not a wage earner? What value would I have? I had to assign value to other ways that I contributed in the world. Money was not the only way to keep score. I needed to step back and reset how I thought and felt. That meant taking an 18-month break from corporate work and focusing on myself and my immediate family. The only relationship I had with money during that period was to spend it. Albeit, carefully and with the guidance of a pretty tight budget.

After my mini-retirement I went back to paid work with a newfound sense of gratitude towards money. I had experienced the fruits of my labour in the decades leading up to my break. I could tie all that saving to something tangibly rewarding and fun. If this was what a mini-retirement could be like, I felt a renewed sense of what a longer one might entail. But, the most interesting turn of events was the surge in my creative thinking. Because I had decoupled my sense of self from money and work, I felt free. Not since I was a young girl had I felt such possibility.

I’ve landed on the secret to feeling wealthy within my normal life. All along the riches were there, I just couldn’t recognize it. My health, imagination, curiosity and creativity have always been available to me, but somehow I had pushed them down over time. I can’t say for sure why I had felt so much fear and insecurity, but I’ve moved past it. Expressing love and gratitude for all situations I find myself in, has built my resilience and sense of security. So many good things flow form this kind of mental state.

I believe the magic of a creative practice is anchored in how normal it is. Meaning it is part of a lifestyle, not something separate. I want all my moments to include the joy of creativity, not just the few weeks of a year when I can escape my normal life for a vacation. It seems so sad that we live such a stressful existence, most of the time, so that we require a recovery period. I truly believe we can ‘create a life we don’t need a vacation from’.

By pursuing a creative life, it seems logical that our level of wellness will be enhanced. As the DailyFinds this week have explored, there is much to be gained from practicing creativity. Enjoy these DailyFinds if you missed any of them this week.

“Money can be more of a barrier between people than language or race or religion.”  – Vera Caspary

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