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worry about money ?

What would you do if you didn’t need to worry about money?

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by Milo Weil

Milo WeilThis sounds like an abstract question to almost everyone, although it is often used as an exercise to discover one’s calling. I’d like to believe that I am doing almost exactly what I would be doing if I weren’t concerned about money, but I know that isn’t completely true. I know I would be teaching fewer hours, and I would volunteer more. I would definitely spend more time playing music. My inner guidance counselor is telling me to do just that!

Traveling not just as a tourist, but living abroad in the tropics makes me feel like I’m retired. Despite working full-time I have a job that allows me to leave my work “at the office.” I can’t state strongly enough how much I appreciate that, but I still spend a lot of my free time preparing for classes and reading about language learning and pedagogy. I am frequently reminded that I could be making more money doing something else or teaching in a different country, but I feel truly blessed whenever I take a moment to appreciate how much I love my daily life. I am much more driven by intrinsic motivation than many of my friends, and the autonomy and creativity teaching affords help me get up in a good mood most days.

Milo Weil’s blogI have a friend who just inherited a large sum of money, and for the first time in her life she is able to re-prioritize her life. She is going to go back to school as she’d previously planned, but she won’t have to work or take on debt. When she looks for her next job she won’t have to rush, and she will be able to afford to buy a modest house or rent a fancy apartment wherever she decides to go. She really can make a decision without worrying about money.

Ironically if I were making more money by participating in “the rat race” trying to make as much money as possible, I think I would feel jealous of her, but because I enjoy my work so much I am able to feel truly happy for her without making any comparisons between our lives. Of course it would be nice to have a bigger emergency fund, a cabin I could retreat to, or enough money to be a full-time student again.

I still often worry that I am not saving enough for the future or taking the right steps to achieve my ever-shifting career goals. I don’t think I would feel happy doing exactly the same work five years from now, and I am considering how I can make the changes necessary to set myself up for success. There are many ways that I could appear more outwardly successful that would actually be less fulfilling.

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