I always say that the American Dream is that we can work all the time and have plenty of money but no time to do what we want or we can work at formal jobs as little as possible and have time but no money to do what we enjoy. I represent the tail end of that dream.
I was able to retire early, and each month, I get a few coins from that; and I work a few hours a week as the storyteller for the toddlers at my library. I also get a few coins from that. A coin here and a coin there, I survive. What’s wrong with that picture? I was the Valedictorian of my class. I should be banging my head against the wall and engaging in daily confrontations. I should be sitting at a desk. I should be on the conference call from Hell. I should be rich, but I am not.
Perhaps it was because the constant haggling for money stressed me out–Perhaps because I was Valedictorian of my class, and God gave me enough intelligence to figure things out–Perhaps because I had no other choice–Perhaps because I almost died when I was 20-years-old, long before I had begun to live–I am not exactly sure how things happened this way, but I got out of the rat race early, and I am following a different path in life.
Being the arty type, some time ago, I elected to march to the beat of a different drummer. It is commonplace for artists to choose to live their lives a little differently. In doing so, we creatives tend to make choices that would not be esteemed as the popular ones. By the world’s standards, I have not lived up to my potential, but on the other hand, I have lived a life that has allowed me the time to smell life’s roses.
Because of the nature of my work, I have an abundance of time that I can allocate toward whatever goal that I choose. I do work–in fact, my work day is at least 18-hours-long. I write, I garden, I research, I stay very busy, but I don’t get paid dollar bills for 99% of what I do; and I still work all day every day. I merely make enough money to survive. I pay my bills, and I rest my head when night finally comes for me.
Ashes to ashes–dust to dust–the money only helps us for a short portion of what will be our eternities. After that, it is no better than the dust. I will not pretend that I am doing everything that I need to do to prepare myself for heaven, and I will not pretend that I don’t worry that when I am old, I will be a pauper. I don’t have everything figured out. To do that, I would have to be much smarter than I am. I have simply decided to live one day at a time, and that is about all that I can handle.
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I–I took the one less traveled by.
And that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost
©Jacki Kellum February 15, 2016