Do We Need Money?

For most of us, that’s not a valid question. But to an altruistic, out-of-the-box thinker, that’s a perplexing idea.

I was talking with friends the other day about jobs, careers, and making a living. We were talking about changing directions and finding what works for us. I think about this kind of thing a lot. But as someone in the twilight of my job, maybe I have a different perspective.

The comment that the youngest of us made was "its too bad we need money". Or something like that. I know what she meant and I have a little insight from where she is coming.

To be honest, I was raised camping. I learned to live off the land and survive the elements. I have a pretty good idea of what it takes. First of all, if you think living off the land is easier than working a full-time job in an office, then you are sorely mistaken. I’d encourage those people to at least watch survival shows. I watch them all because it fascinates me. "Alone", "Naked and Afraid", "Survivor" (though I don’t consider this real survival, but very borderline for yuppies). But especially those shows where people live remotely or off-the-grid lifestyles like "The Last Alaskans" and "a name I can’t remember". Also, homesteaders like the Kirchers in "Alaska the Great Frontier".

All of these shows include tools that are given to them or acquired. It includes basics like fish hooks, fishing line, ammunition, bows and arrows, flint, or a few other essentials. For the homesteaders, you’ll add snowmobiles, dogs and dog sleds, boats with engines, and a multitude of tools and heavy equipment. Yeah, homesteading is a little different. But its still off the grid. Regardless, some essentials include ammo and fuel. Its hard to live without those in the backcountry.

I’m afraid that people who live cushy lives, or city lives in general, they don’t realize what it really takes to live. Most of those homesteaders are still making money. They are trapping for furs, making crafts, hewing lumber, or doing whatever they can to buy essential equipment, ammo, and fuel. Even in a bartering or trade situation, barter is still money. It may not look like the paper in your wallet. But its still needed.

The question comes back "do we need money?" Heck yeah we do. And we need to sweat to make it. Yeah, maybe some of us get highly educated in hopes of a better position. Some of us learn a trade (which I wish I did early on). We need some service that we can provide to make money. And making money isn’t as easy as those who are without wealth think. Some of it starts in Kindergarten. Some of it is good parenting. Some of it is honoring role models and seeking our own success in life. Things aren’t just handed to you. And if they are, then it doesn’t work well.

I’m Native American. My parents technically live on a reservation, but not the kind that you think. Oklahoma is really one big Indian Reservation. But I’ve been to many reservations both personally and professionally. Some are really nice communities. Others are slums. I’ve seen the homes with dirt floors, leaky roofs, and light coming through the walls. I’ve seen people in abject poverty. When the only way you know is getting a government check for doing nothing, then there isn’t much aspiration to do much with your life other than live. Getting free money (that is never free) is never a good idea. It does significant trauma to your psyche.

Inherently, we all want more out of life. Even for those who don’t have and decry those who do. If they’ve ever stayed in the penthouse suite or dined at Michelin starred restaurants, then they’d know what they are missing. If you knew what a nice massage and spa treatment felt like, then maybe they’d know what they are missing. But if you’ve never had those things, then you just look over the fence at those rich people and hate them. I guess I understand that.

Honestly, I have friends from high school who were bookworms. They were smart and were the goodie two shoes with parents who had high expectations. The kids who didn’t have a good home life. Some of whom I know were abused by their fathers. Some who didn’t have 3 meals a day. They were the ones who picked on those nerdy bookworms. But now, later in life, those bookworms are now living in McMansions taking trips to Italy. Who has the last laugh now?

That’s how it is in life. Some work hard and sacrifice to make a living. Others sit around and wait for things to fall in their laps. And most often, the falling in the laps never happens. So they play the lottery and try to find shortcuts to success. Some resort to taking what’s not theirs. And then, when they get thrown in prison, people blame society for their incarceration. When it really comes down to who you are as a person. Do you expect much from yourself? Do you see yourself succeeding in life? Are you willing to put in the hard work and dedication to make your dreams come true? We can’t fool ourselves into thinking otherwise.

Nothing in life comes for free. If you live in society, you have to live by their rules. Otherwise, live the life and death struggle of living in wilderness. I’ll give you one week and you’ll be crawling back to the city looking in the dumpsters for your meals. Its your choice.

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