My job takes me all over the city and inside peoples' homes. I see a lot of interesting things. I meet some very nice people, and I meet some weirdos. I see some very nice houses, and I see some dumps. I see dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, mice, snakes, and more (all of whom are nice, BTW). I've seen drugs, sex toys, and rock and roll. I see a lot on the road, too. I've seen overturned trucks, police chases, and even the SWAT team.
Most of the homes I visit tend to be on the dump side, not the nice side. It's just the nature of my job. As a result, I tend to feel pretty comfortable about the way I live. I live a modest life in a small apartment, but at least I'm not living in a dump and my apartment doesn't smell like urine. I've got that going for me. Besides, I've never been a materialistic guy. I'm more into simple living. I have no interest in big, flat-screen TVs or expensive cars. I'm alright with a cheap computer and a bike. This attitude has served me well in the past. I've never made much money, but I've never been in debt and I actually have a nice little investment account. I feel proud that I save a higher percent of my income than most people do.
When I make it into the nice houses I feel a little jealousy, but not much. I'm more curious about how the owner acquired enough money to afford everything. Is the owner a doctor, lawyer, etc. or a lower income person with a lot of debt? Did the owner inherit a lot of money or win a frivolous lawsuit? It's all very interesting to me, but obviously I can't ask the owners what their story is. While jealousy might lead one to hope that these people either inherited money or are living beyond their means, the reality probably is that most of them have good jobs and are living comfortably. Whenever I feel a little jealousy I just shake it off. I'm happy with my life and I only really want money for 3 things- (1) to retire early, (2) to travel, and (3) to buy a nice bike every once in a while. Even with my low-income job I will be able to achieve those goals.
Yesterday was a little different. I was sent to the nice part of town to a very big house. I didn't think much of it at first. I often ride my bike through the area and most of the houses are large, which desensitizes me to everything. I went to the door and I was greeted by a younger-looking guy (probably mid 20s like myself) and his wife/girlfriend. Now, I'm not the stereotypical construction worker kind of guy who whistles at girls and things like that (though I do work with a few). I'm married and I try not to even think about that stuff. That said, his wife/girlfriend was hot. We're talking supermodel hot. To top it off, she had a British accent, which made her even hotter in my book. She seemed to be pretty nice, too. I guess rich guys get the super hot girls. (I've noticed that fat guys tend to get the regular hot girls, which confuses me. That's for another thread, though.)
My partner, who is even more low key than I am, didn't say a word when we went back out to the van to get our equipment. All he said to me was, "I thought I noticed that name. He's a racecar driver." I simply replied, "Really?" I had never heard of him, but now it all made sense. He was rich, semi-famous, and had that danger element going. No wonder his wife/girlfriend was so hot. Anyway, it's not often that my question of how the owner got the money to afford such things is answered, so I was satisfied. Or so I thought.
It turns out that the answer made me even more jealous. First of all, this guy probably was young, not just young-looking. He was probably a couple years older than me but had made millions of dollars already. For some reason his young age made me feel like wealth should actually be within my reach. I always think of rich people as being old people who had spent a lot of time earning all that money, but not this guy. If he was young and rich, why not me? Second, this guy is probably doing a job he loves. I mean, if you race cars for a living you probably enjoy your job. I'm not even a car guy and I can understand that. Third, he probably gets to travel a lot. What a life.
I'm not jealous of the money so much as the freedom that money can bring. If someone gave me 1 million dollars I wouldn't go out and buy a bunch of stuff. I'd simply quit my job, buy a nice bike or two, and ride my bike as much as I wanted. When I was done with that I would do whatever else I felt like doing that day, which would probably involve a lot of reading, stock market watching, and travel. No more waking up and having to go to work. That's the thing I hate more than anything. I want free time and I want freedom. It's that simple.
All in all, I was inside this house feeling more jealous than I had ever felt before. I was ashamed at myself for feeling that way. I should be happy with my life. Plenty of people have it worse, that's for sure. Eventually the jealousy and shame gave way to motivation. If this guy has a lot of money and is living a dream, why shouldn't I? I do have a plan to make enough money to quit my job in 5 years. Why don't I put that plan in motion? It's a risky plan and it involves borrowing a large sum of money up front. My wife hates the idea. But why not chase a dream, you know? The racecar driver did and he made it.
I don't want to get into a debate about religion, but I think if you understand my perspective you can understand why I feel like I should just go for it. I don't belive in god. I don't believe in heaven or hell. I don't believe in souls or reincarnation. I believe that when you die, you just die. That's it. Consciousness is a product of the human (and maybe animal animal) brain, and when the brain goes so does consciousness. Life is all we have, so we have to make the most of it. The world is full of places to see and things to do. You better see and do them before you die, because you'll never get another chance. That's my view. The time is now to see the things I want to see and do the things I want to do. Why not take a risk?
So there you have it. Did I have an awakening or did I succumb to jealousy and materialism? We'll see.