Follow Your Heart

Money is about the numbers, right?

Wrong.

Money is a tool — a tool that you can use to follow your heart, while not completely ignoring reality OR ignoring the possibilities.

Using money is about finding a balance that allows us to both eat on a regular basis and live our dreams. Don’t neglect either one.

So, when you think about the new year that stretches before us, think about the things that appear on your list year after year. Why are they recurring?

Do they recur because you think you should do them, but you aren’t actually highly motivated to do them? (Things like losing weight, exercising more, and spending less often fall into that category.) Or do they recur because you want to do them but somehow never manage to? (Maybe you’ve always wanted to visit Budapest, eat at the French Laundry, or drive a race car.)

It’s the second type of recurring items that are worth exploring further.

Yes, you should pay your bills on time, get (or stay) out of debt, save for retirement, and take care of your kids. (And you should exercise and eat right too.)

But you should also live out (at least some!) of your dreams.

Life is not a grind that you have to get through in hopes of making it to that elusive “someday” where — if you make it long enough and you’re still able-bodied enough — you can finally fulfill one of your dreams.

So find the balance. Find the way to do both.

Most of us have that ability already. We just don’t recognize it.

Here’s the trick. There are tons of things that we all spend money on every day that don’t mean much of anything to us at all, not even in the little scheme of things.

I tell you what, I’d gladly give up my morning junk food run for a horseback ride across Mongolia, if it came down to choosing between the two. I can’t even tell you what kind of junk food I ate for sure last Wednesday, but I sure can tell you in detail about all the trips I’ve taken so far. Mongolia would be just as exciting. I can tell you about how great it feels to be debt-free-but-the-house, too.

You can do the same, if you follow your heart.

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16 comments

  • Great post from the heart. Making money is never the goal. What you do with it is what makes you a smart investor.

  • I agree 100%! I read an article on Get Rich Slowly a couple of weeks ago that really got to me. J.D. took a vacation and did some hiking for a week or two. To his surprise, many of the other travelers were 60+ years old! They had appartenly been saving and saving for retirement, and now that they were finally living their dreams, they were nearly too old to hike! Many of them commented on his youth and wished that they had taken this trip years ago when they were still healthy and in shape.

    Often times, I’m a tightwad, but after hearing this story, I realized that I have to loosen up sometimes and enjoy the present. I’ll only be here on earth for a short time!

    • Huh, I hadn’t read that post but I’m not surprised by it at all. Maybe I have the perspective that I do in part because it seems like in my family people either die very young (long before retirement age) or they live to be in their 90’s. Either way, it makes you think.

  • I love this. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the bottom line … but I’m thrilled to say that I’m saving money for something purely “fun” for the first time in my life – Mt. Kilimanjaro 2012, baby!!!

    Mongolia sounds pretty cool too … maybe 2013?? :P

  • It is so easy to just focus on the numbers. That is one of the reasons I don’t like some extreme frugality type posts. There is not point just concentrating on the future and ignore to live the present life. We should prioritize and spend on stuff we value. Great post, Jackie!

  • Yes, you can do both! I find that the really important things are free or inexpensive. They are memories or experience, you share with friends and family. I do enjoy the things that cost money also like traveling. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Your post reminded me of the movie Up! I never got to completing it – I heard the ending is actually pretty good.

    Never lose sight of why we are making money! Great post Jackie!

    • Why did it remind you of Up? Now I’m thinking of that dog saying “Squirrel!” :)

      • The guy saves up to go traveling to south america… but never makes it till he is old! I would never want to be in that situation!

        What’s the point if I’m a billionaire when I’m 100 years old? I’ll be happy to be a millionaire when I’m young instead!

        So as you say, save up and *use* the money for vacations or pursuing a new hobby or whatever keeps you happy!

  • I find when you do something you are passionate about, money finds its way to you. People excel at what they like doing the best.