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Happiness may be difficult to attain. The obstacles are not primarily financial – Alain de Botton

Posted by on Pro 4, 2013

The possession of the greatest riches does not resolve the agitation of the soul nor give birth to remarkable joy.

The possession of the greatest riches does not resolve the agitation of the soul nor give birth to remarkable joy.

My dear Druydical brothers and sisters and I recently came back from a whirlwind tour of Germany – 10 days, 3,000 kilometers, 6 concerts, 1 workshop.   We had a wonderful time and met many lovely people albeit it was sometimes draining constantly moving from one place to the other and sleeping under a different roof every few days.  And for those 10 days, we made an enormously small amount of money compared to what we had expected, despite the fact that we were having great concerts and a great time.  And every day, while driving from place to place, it always somehow made its way into the conversation whether we liked it or not.

Then on Sunday, I had an argument with my husband.  We don’t argue often but during those rare occasions that we do, an old argument, whether it be part of the original argument or not, always manages rears its ugly head – money.  In effect he said that since I had given up corporate work we had been up s*** creek without a paddle.  All that evening, and most of Monday too, I once again, for the 5 millionth time kept asking myself – have I made the right decision?  Should I really be pursuing a career in music when it isn’t really that financially lucrative even though I love it with all my heart, body and soul?  Shouldn’t I be trying to do something that’s more financially appealing?

With those thoughts in mind, I drove to a lesson at my friend’s house.  Now, not only do I enjoy the lesson because of the fact that she’s a great person and I enjoy teaching her, but I have the double bonus that she’s a foodie and always get treated to new teas and new tasty morsels.  And so it was this Monday.  We had a wonderful time – sang a lot, laughed a lot, had multiple cups of delicious tea.  And for a while I kept those thoughts at bay.  Then I drove home.  And again: should I be doing this?  I mean, I LOVE it with bold, huge capitals, but my family and I are literally living month to month.   Shouldn’t I be aiming higher?  When all of a sudden a pedestrian ran across a traffic light rushing to catch a tram on the other side of the road.  The two cars in front of me stopped, I stopped, but the car behind me didn’t stop and railed into me.  Thankfully, he didn’t hit me full on because if he had, I wouldn’t be here writing this (I drive a beat-up Kia Pride while he was driving a Hyundai Santa Fe, both of us going approximately 70 km/h) but he bumped me hard enough for me to still feel quite a lot of pain in my back and neck.

It was the bluntest wake up call I have ever received, besides my leg operation 6 years ago when I decided, f*** it, life’s too short, I’m going to become a full time singer.  Yes, life is too short dear people.  Money is important, but it can’t buy you what you really want or need.  Or in the words of Alain de Botton in his book “The Consolations of Philosophy” in the chapter entitled “Consolation for not having enough money”:

Wealth is of course unlikely ever to make anyone miserable.  But the crux of Epicurus’s argument is that if we have money without friends, freedom and an analysed life, we will never be truly happy.  And if we have them, but are missing the fortune, we will never be unhappy…the possession of the greatest riches does not resolve the agitation of the soul nor give birth to remarkable joy…

Love your life, love your fellow beings, love what you do…

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