Today, I’m going to be writing about money. I’m no financial expert, I don’t know if anything in this post will be useful, but it’s what I fancy writing about.
Money is the most important thing to many of us. We may not even realise it, but at the end of the day, we need it to live in western societies. We absolutely, 100% rely on it. I hate that. Money controls us every single day. Money is the reason most of us work. We need a career to be successful and buy a house, car, etc.
Money is something I constantly say I don’t have – ‘I can’t do this, I’ve got no money,’ ‘No, I can’t afford that!,’ ‘I don’t want to go to town, I’ll spend money I don’t have!’
At the same time, I am constantly spending money. Yesterday, I bought some chocolate and lady products. The day before, I spent a small amount for a game. The day before that, car insurance and rabbit food. Before that, MacDonald’s. I’m not sure when I last went an entire week without spending money.
I have no income. Despite all my spending, I have no job, no hobby I’m making money from, nothing. Through student finance and my previous job, I’ve saved up enough that I’ve been able to spend all summer, despite constantly claiming I have no money. When I look at what I’ve spent though, I’m pretty horrified.
Why do I choose to spend money on Macdonalds, and then tell my friends I can’t go for a drink? The money I spent on the game is enough for a coffee, or parking for an hour or two. Chocolate bars are so expensive these days I could have bought a house (joking, obviously, but it could have been 70p in my piggy bank). I simultaneously spoil myself whilst living frugally, and the stuff I buy gives me no long-term satisfaction whatsoever. I said 4 years ago I was going to save up for a macro lens for my camera. Do I have a macro lens? Nope! Have I been able to afford one since saying I’d get one? You bet! I spent two years of that time working full time. I could have my macro lens, another zoom lens, a decent car, or even just tyres (literally avoid driving my car when it’s raining because my tyres are so bad, I’ve skidded out about 4 times). I could have the money to go back to Africa sat in my account. I could have gone on one or two beach holidays.
Sometimes I think about what my life would be like if I’d chosen to stay in full time work instead of studying. I could have the deposit for a house by now, easily. There’s a high chance that I would have been promoted (I had already been promoted twice, neither time I asked or pushed for it, I got on with my manager well and worked hard). But I’d be bored. Working in a coffee shop for my whole life is not for me. I am too passionate about animals to stick to just having pets. I always want more. I always push for me, whilst simultaneously holding myself back, e.g. by spending the entire summer jobless.
Working with animals and wildlife conservation is not going to make me rich. I am fully aware that until I’ve got 50 years of experience and a PHD, giving me the opportunity to be head of department at some university, I will likely only ever earn a below average wage. I could have been a vet if I wanted money, but a vets job, to me, seems boring. I don’t mean any offense of course, I have enjoyed learning about animal health, but there’s no bigger picture or purpose. You vaccinate and treat animals, you save some lives, but for what? So that a domestically bred and raised animal can hopefully live a happy life. That is great, but also not natural. I’m a complete hypocrite because I’ve had pets all my life, and I currently have two beautiful rabbits, and of course I’m incredibly grateful that vets can protect them against all kinds of diseases and health issues…But it isn’t natural. My poor bunnies serve no purpose other than to line the pockets of the breeders and give me a personal level of satisfaction.
Working with wildlife and conservation is more than that. It means I’m contributing to an entire planet. If I can educate people about ecosystems and animals, help people understand the damage we do and how we can turn that around to aid ecosystems instead, to stop mindlessly destroying habitats and decimating other species – that, right there, is a purpose.
I have gone completely off track but maybe the point to this post isn’t really about money, but about ourselves. Money is a necessity, yes, but don’t let it rule your life. I am not a happy person, but I am probably more deeply satisfied with what I’m doing than those who have settled for money, those you don’t allow themselves time to live because they’re working too hard and those that are trapped in menial jobs or careers that they don’t enjoy, just because it was a better financial option. I know that when my degree is over and I find a job, it’ll be a job I love. Sure, it’ll have bad days and good days, let’s be realistic! But I will be satisfied.