Friday, June 1, 2012

It's not a crime to live a good life

What constitues a good life?

For me?
It's 1:48 pm and I've managed to spend a lovely morning conversing with the adorable Jim over freshly squeezed orange juice, a creme cheese and salmon bagel and a delicious latte, lunch over real good Belgian fries (!!! I've stopped eating fries ever since I moved out of Belgium, but Sketch has brought them back in my life for good!!!) and my favourite beer in the whole wide world, the African Mongozo Banana, all the while discussing some exciting exciting development in my future professional life. 
Am now chilling, waiting for news about a class I'm supposed to be giving at 3:30 (not sure there'll be enough people), finally about to put some of my thoughts from back in March in writing for the public to read and am sipping a refreshing freshly squeezed grapefruit&orange juice.
Oh, and between the two meetings I managed to buy one of my most beloved Escada scents 25% off.
It truly is a good life.

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One of the issues that kind of clicked in my mind during the last trip is my attitude towards money. About three, four years ago I've started shifting towards not buying things and trying to own as little as possible, with the later-done travels only pushing me further and further in the direction of this new lifestyle. I've come to a point where I would barely go shopping, hate going to the mall (with the abundance of everything around and the amount of waste and useless material things we produce being, quite frankly, overwhelming), decided I didn't want to have a lot of money. Just enough to pay for my basic needs, thus I wasn't really looking forward to be making more than necessary. I've always been good with money management (not having much and wanting to do much teach you that in no time) but never really took the time to figure out how to become wealthy. I don't come from a rich family but somehow that's never been on my agenda. And then I spent a couple of days in Munich.

Munich is a beautiful city and unlike many other beautiful places, it has a completely distinct vibe - the vibe of money. I always say Munich is a place that breathes money. You can see it in the carefully restored buildings, in the fancy restaurants and not so fancy bars (still more expensive than everywhere else in the region), in the people's clothes, walk and brands of shopping bags they seem to always carry around with them, in the cars parked in the streets (a Porche parked on basically every corner of the city center, alongside the countless Audi, Mercedes and a Mini Cooper to break the pattern from time to time), in the shops luring you inside with all those countless gourmet goods displayed on the shelves. One of which was a spice store branded by a famous German chef, which Paula, her mom and I visited during our Saturday afternoon stroll around. I was looking at all the exoticly-sounding spices and dressings and their prices thinking to myself: "If I don't have enough cash, I will never be able to enjoy such things and will loose out on so many exciting tastes the world has to offer". So there I was, between the African vanilla pepper and the intriguing figue and chestnut mustard, realizing I did want to be rich. Not because money is important to me but because I want to be able to afford to discover what is out there. Be it unusual food, far-away locations, crazy sports or the best available education for my children if they should care to pursue that path, I want it. And without money, much will stay out of my reach. 

It's been a kind of a circle - coming from "I want money to have things, everyone wants money." as a child/teeneager, through "I don't want to be ruled by money, I want just enough, I don't care for it much." in the early twenties, to "I want to rule my world, certain things I want in it are expensive and there's nothing I can do to change it, but I can sure rule the money I'll have." after almost a quarter of a century in this crazy place we call Earth. And as Jim very wisely summed it up today - it's not a crime to live a good life. It's ok to be wealthy and comfortable, it's nothing to be ashamed of if you want to be able to afford the good stuff. But most of all, you have to consider who you are first - having money and owning things should never define you, that's not where your self-confidence and self-esteem should come from. Just understand why you want to have money, what motivates you to work for it and what paths you're willing to follow to get to where you aspire to, how they fit the image of the human being you want to be.

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Oh, that 3:30 Zumba class? Cancelled! Which means I can enjoy my juice that much longer and have some free time, a concept I haven't been familiar with the last couple of days.
Ah, thanks God it's not a crime to live a good life!

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