If Money Wasn’t an Issue, How Would You Live?
So, Craig Weldon just asked a whole bunch of people what we would do and how would we live if money wasn’t an issue.
If Money Wasn’t an Issue, How Would You Live Your Life?
What does your dream life look like?
Interesting question, and for me a bit ironic. Let me fill you all in on the backstory.
My husband and I borrowed twelve hundred dollars from my kid brother forty-five years ago to buy a used limousine. We subsequently parlayed it into a rather large business that I now find myself the current CEO. We have offices and affiliates in cities covering the globe and at any given time are transporting Fortune 500 executives and A-list celebrities all over the world. Think a small-scale Uber that is privately owned, by me and my kids.
Make no mistake, we built this business one car at a time. It meant no movies or eating out for a long while. We had nothing. We lived on a nine-dollar block of American cheese for more than half a month, the other half was the cheapest possible cuts of meat or bone soups. I didn’t buy shoes or go to the hair salon for years. Our business and the employees depending on weekly paychecks always came first.
We had challenges through the years, lawsuits, mismanagement, costly mistakes. Neither my husband or I were MBA’s so we had to muddle through with the old make it up as you go along method. We learned a lot and paid our dues. Now at the other end of my life, I find the puzzle pieces have fallen into the right places. So, in answer to the question, I currently live as if money is not an issue.
So, what’s that like? Well, I am able to buy what I want, when I want. What I’ve learned is that it’s all basically just stuff. It’s on loan to us for our lifetime and then becomes our kid’s problems when they try to dispose of it. I can say this after giving away tons of clothes, shoes, and countless unused Father’s Day gifts when my husband passed away. We kept the things dearest to us, like shells and rocks we found on our trip to Greece, or a silly unopened soda bottle named Shit we bought in a pizzeria in St. Paul De Vince, in Provence.
I could quit my job or retire and do what?
I know many people list that as the first thing they would do, and while I respect it, it’s not for me.
I don’t dig ditches, or punch a time clock. Being the boss gives me a certain amount of flexibility to take off when I need or not even show up if I choose. But I don’t.
By the third day of this, past three-day weekend, I counted the hours to see my work family and spend time finding out what new things my sons (when I talk about my kids, you should know they are 41 and 36 respectively) are planning. They keep this business exciting and fresh.
They are my partners now and I love the fact that they respect my work past. I know they value what forty years bring to a decision, as I need their vision of the world to forge our way into the future. It’s the perfect combination of new and old, my caution slowing the speed of their impulsiveness, without restricting creativity. They realize too many good ideas are jettison in our youth-venerated society and recognize what experience can add to a bottom line.
I love working. I enjoy it so much I took on a second career as an indie writer publishing fifty-four books in eight years and managing my son’s writing career. I have a podcast and produce a magazine that helps spread the word of indie authors.
Okay, what about volunteering? I volunteer all the time. Our business has created new jobs and we have helped people from our community find a place to make a living and support their families. We have trained countless employees and enjoyed watching them grow into their positions.
Over thirty years ago when we bought our first building in Queens, we hired local teens from the community who depended on public assistance. Many have finished their education, move on creating careers both with us or other companies. I’m proud of that.
I do a lot in the indie community, helping authors by using my business network to grow their brand. I share my resources by including them in activities I do while selling my books, giving them opportunities they could never have.
While having money is nice, and it does solve problems, it can sometimes create difficulties. It’s a big responsibility. Bringing up a child in affluence is hard and you must be diligent to rear responsible people who realize their full potential and not be spoiled. Entitlement is a nasty disease that is emotionally crippling.
Showing up to work and creating a vehicle for others to have careers is just as fulfilling as volunteering. It’s not vanity work or the charity of the week. It’s being in the trenches and fielding land mines with people grinding it out every day. It’s being there to help make sure the door opens up each morning and their paycheck is solid. I am just as invested as they are and when the going gets uncomfortable, I can’t walk away.
One of the Vice Presidents of the company called me yesterday. He told me a secret. He was going to be a grandfather and he was crying as he shared the news. He was also sad that my husband couldn’t be that first call. He told me we were not like parents to him, but parents, and have been a part of his life more than any DNA relative. He didn’t have to do that, but I’m glad he did. It validates all the times we worried with him, shared his grief or happiness. Neither my husband or I had to do it. It was an honor to make these people part of our lives.
Ninety percent of life is having your basic needs met, a roof over your head, enough food to eat, transportation, and let’s not forget a television with a working remote. The remain ten percent of the equation is fleeting and not that important. It turns out you can only eat with one fork, wear one watch and though you have two ears, it only works with one phone. It’s all the stuff of fluff.
My dad always said whether you’re rich or poor, it’s good to have money. I have also heard the old line, I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor and rich is definitely better. I’m here to say from experience, either way, it was all good. Each way I lived contributed to who I am and where I am today.
Take it from me, a person who has lived both the highs and the lows, no matter the circumstances I always felt as though I was living my best dreams.
I have learned that in the end, good health turns out to be the most important thing of all. If you have your health, then the rest is easy.
I am inviting fellow Medium contributors to take this challenge with me and write their stories.
Kyrie Gray, Jessica WildFire, Alex R Carver, Kate Norquay, DJ Cooper, Erica Graham, Theresa Smith, Stacy Cellier-Gomez, OldManNana, Steven Tyndall, Mafia Hairdresser, Scott Bieker, Alice Robinson, Aric McKeown, Graham Lucht, Jeremy Helligar, Christopher Cordry, Kevin Zschach, Jyssica Schwartz, Maggie Haukka, Kelsey A. Enders, Natalie Fagan, Dale E. Lehman, Jessica Cote, Linda Moran, Robyn Jane Sheppard, Dave Park, Agnes Louis, Annie Littlewolf, Susan Christiana, Bebe Nicholson, RL Jackson, Carmel Hanes, Samantha Beach