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Happiness is more than money


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© December 2005 Tony Lawrence

I spent Monday morning raking leaves. It had snowed Saturday, an early New England flurry that had melted away in warmer weather on Sunday, and all was dry and warm again on Monday. That's a benefit of self employment: time shifting. I worked Saturday, and had Monday free for yard chores.

I used to be a "big pile" raker. I'd rake the entire yard up into large piles and then tackle those when I was all done. I hated raking.

More recently, I've become a "little pile" raker. I rake up a ten or fifteen foot square, pick that up and bag it, and do another square. It's not as efficient, but I actually enjoy it now because I can start and stop as I please without leaving a big messy pile to damage the grass or blow away with the wind.

Efficiency isn't that important to me. Part of my definition of success is happiness and not doing things I don't like doing. I have other choices with leaf raking - I could pay someone else to do it, and I have done that in the past. But I just don't like the job they do, and I don't like waiting till there's enough leaves on the ground to be worthwhile. If I can do it my way, I enjoy the work and the results.

Some people concentrate entirely on making money. That's fine, but what is it you want the money for? Security is certainly one answer, but if enjoying your life is also part of it, consider trading work time for small pleasures now. I'd rather rake a few leaves, have a cup of tea with my wife, or read a few chapters of a good book than spend every minute of my life trying to make more money. I don't mean that I ignore money, but that I'm willing to trade my work time for the happiness. That's what we do anyway: work for money, trade the money for things we want. I want happiness, relaxation, simple pleasures, and can cut out the middle of that transaction by cutting back on work time or rearranging it to suit my needs.


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