If Money Was No Object?

Yesterday I was challenged to think about the question, “What would you do if money was no object?

Watch the video:

After deliberating a good while, I talked to my friends about how I would travel the world and study under the greatest artists in the world and learn to translate the incredible images in my head onto canvas. I went to bed sad because I know this can never happen.

Today, however, I thought about it again. The point of this video was not to make people depressed because of the impossibility of their dreams. The point of this video was to impress upon people the importance of doing what you love and loving what you do. Do things because you love it, not because it is going to line your pocket.

I currently work part time at a library I’ve worked at since October, 2008, making $8.50 an hour. My pockets are so far from lined that my paychecks fall through them almost instantly. I realize that I am being under paid and (according to coworkers) undervalued at this current job, but that is not the point.  Yes, I could probably go to another library and work there full time for a lot more than I’m currently making, but that, again, is not the point.  My thoughts today about this video and the principles behind it lead me to an epiphany: I do not want to work at a different library. I like this library very much. I understand how it works, I have great camaraderie with my coworkers, I share the same belief system with both my coworkers and the university the library serves, and I genuinely enjoy what I do every day. I look forward to going to work because I love it.

I could work for another library. But I wouldn’t be as happy.

And that, my friends, is the point.

Lady Luck

Have you ever known one of those people who always seem to have something major going wrong in their life?

There’s a guy, let’s call him Sam for privacy, whom I’ve know for five years. During this time there has not been a single day where everything seemed to be going his way. There has always been something: health problem (major or minor), financial crisis, personal disaster, work trauma/drama, spiritual distress. He defeats one problem only to immediately be faced by another.

His life is almost enough to make me believe in luck. Lady Luck despises him and eschews him at all costs, but loves me and hangs out with me every day.

What if it’s not luck, though? What if, somehow, a person’s choices determine the type of “luck” they have?

Now I’m not saying that Sam chooses to be in the situations he finds himself in. But what if some choices have unforeseen consequences that result in a seemingly cursed life? And what if other choices have unforeseen consequences that result in a seemingly lucky life?

I don’t know, and I’m probably wrong. But it just seems so odd to me the drastically different types of “luck” people have.

Appearance vs. Reality

Image

His name is James, and he’s a scholar.

Everyday a balding, upper-middle-aged gentleman rides his bicycle to my library wearing mis-matched clothing, a duct-taped helmet, a back brace (held on by a belt), and lugging a patched up, ancient military backpack. He is going deaf, so he talks louder than one should in a library, and he mutters to himself not-so-quietly the entire time he’s here.

He doesn’t know how to use a computer. He takes copious notes in his giant three-ring binder, and when he needs to look up a definition (which he frequently does), he has to break out the stone tablet-sized, weighs-more-than-you-do dictionary.

He believes in conspiracy theories – as far as I can tell, all of them.

He seems like a kooky old man who has nothing better to do with his time than make work for the librarians and disturb other patrons with his eccentricities.

He professes to be ignorant, but he’s not. Over the four years I have watched him in the library, he has studied every topic imaginable. He studies ancient warfare, the SAT, army tanks, Bible commentaries, religious cults, aircraft, the government, Sunday School literature, theological debates, sermon-making, geography, philosophy, psychology, and missions. Every few days he has a different set of books he’s poring over.

He’s a scholar.

He makes me ashamed of myself.

Here I am – in the midst of my Master’s degree, graduated magna cum laude, nationally ranked Bible Quizzer – and I can honestly say I have never studied as much or as hard as he does on a daily basis. I have studied by requirement and I have studied for reward, but never have I ever diligently studied because I wanted to.

Where does his drive come from? I wish I knew.