It stuck me that I wouldn't even know what to do with the money. No, I didn't win the lottery or come across some magical dream job that pays me to read books and eat ice cream all day. It is the constant prepping and planning to make a million. Or more. A billion.
Of all the goal-oriented books and blogs I've read, it never occurred to me to step back and recognize my own perception of the dream - to be richer than I am. It was just the hope that I could make a little more to free myself from college debt, phone contracts, and a mediocre apartment. You know, the lifestyle of a twenty-something in New York?
It goes back further, though. I remember dreaming up plans when I was in elementary school of what I would do if I somehow inherited a million dollars. Just like that. After a few minutes of frantically writing out all my childhood dreams - endless video game systems, piles of junk food, and my own secret hideout - I quickly realized that it's hard to spend that kind of money when you have no reason to have it in the first place. I don't think I even got past the $200,000 mark.
It's the same as the ridiculousness we've seen on MTV Cribs or Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. There is no aspiration outside the acquisition of wealth at that point. The art suffers because they (myself included) never took the time to ask:
What are you working for in the first place?
The dream is to work for the work. We kid ourselves thinking that all we want is to lay on a beach until we melt away. Or watch TV until we can't anymore. Or eat so much junk it morphs us into someone we don't recognize. And that's the biggest load of bullshit. What kind of person are you if you want to contribute nothing to this world except taking up space, spending money and forever relaxing?
There is always work to be done and no one is too good to do it.
Writing is no exception.
I was challenged by a friend to write a whole post without quoting anyone else. She said my thoughts were good enough on their own. And while I appreciated the compliment (more than she knows), my response surprisingly had me stumbling over my own impetus. I fill my writing with quotes because I don't imagine I'm the smartest person around and connecting with the minds of others is exactly how the universe has been molded up until this point. Idea sex over centuries of human existence, collisions of thoughts and theories, has brought us to this point. If anything, I'm just building off of my heroes and writing it all out to make myself and everyone daring to read it a bit better, whatever that means.
And, nevertheless, I figured I'd give it a try without any quotes. Why? Because this is all practice. Yes, it's easier for me to borrow from some great minds, but, in the end, this is me flexing my own thoughts, about thoughts. The truth comes from my own personal experience.
I've been wrestling with a premonition for some time and I think it is becoming more clear. The practice of writing here is just that, practice. And while it's always important to go through the hard work of delivering on that deadline, my intuition says it is time for something different, something more calculated. What am I contributing besides a look deeper into my own mind? Why not look outward and find what the world really needs besides my book reports? We're all trying to figure it out anyway, right?
What we all want is some answers. And to do that we have to learn and experience life through one another. There is no other way. Daydreaming and deadlines can't be enough; we need action. And that's what I mean when I say I need something new. It's even funnier that I can't understand why it's so hard to put into words. I write because I wonder and I wonder because I read. What I want to do is build something of my life to be written about - to be a work of action, not just a reaction. And, yes, I notice the hypocrisy of writing that we all learn and experience life through one another and seemingly belittling my own contributions, I just know I want to offer more.
Because in the end, all we're left with is how we spend the money, the work, and the day.