Dear me at 18:
You really need to stop caring about money.
Money doesn’t buy happiness. It doesn’t buy husbands or children (maybe in extreme cases). It doesn’t buy health or peace or friendships or love.
Money buys things, replaceable material possessions like houses or cars or jewelry or clothes. Money buys irreplaceable and intangible things like security, stability, safety, education, experiences, travels, opportunities.
Money is good for a few reasons, but it can be bad for a lot of reasons. It can turn honest people into greedy ones. It can pit father against son, husband against wife, sister against brother. It can entice people to murder, betray, lie, cheat, and steal. Money can ruin your life if you let it, even though it is a miniscule (albeit necessary) element of our existence.
You’re going to leave this world the same way you came in it. With nothing. The money you leave behind will be spent, the possessions will be sold or pilfered. The only thing that will count is the story of your life. The people you loved and the people who loved you. The lives you changed, the smiles and laughter you shared. Your story is what people will remember. Your story is your legacy, and the money you amassed will eventually be forgotten.
The more time you spend worrying about money, the less time you spend living. Money has the power to lead you away from your heart of hearts, and rather than following your dreams and your path, you may choose the path to wealth instead. A path that leads you to be rich and unhappy. I said it before and I’ll say it for the rest of your life, money will not buy happiness. Happiness is elusive to many wealthy individuals whom have practically sold their souls for material wealth.
But the story does not have to end here. You need not choose between happiness and money, dear girl. You need only to follow your heart. Study that which evokes passion in you. Don’t choose a major in college because you think it will make you rich. After college, take a job that you enjoy. If you do not enjoy your job, quit. Life is too short to spend your days wishing they would be over. The weekends are only two days out of seven. Enjoy all seven days.
You will find that when you love what you do, you don’t need a lot of money. Money is a moot point. There is a chance that doing what you love will bring an abundance of material wealth to your life. There’s also a chance that it won’t, but at least you’ll have enough. If you are responsible, hard-working, physically and mentally well, you’ll always have enough to eat, to live comfortably, and to enjoy modern conveniences. Without sacrificing the finer things in life. Relationships. Dreams. Happiness.
Now do you see? You can choose money at the expense of your happiness. Or you can choose happiness with the chance of money and the guarantee of enough.
Choose happiness. Money doesn’t have what you want. Stop caring about what car you drive, purse you carry, or shoes you wear. It doesn’t mean anything. And it’s better that you realize this now rather than in a few years, when you’ve already started building a life.
Because you’ll have to start over.
Lucy is a writer, blogger, entrepreneur, health nut, step-mom, and mom. Her blog, lucilleinthesky.com, provokes women to follow their dreams and create the life they want to live.