All Retch and No Vomit . . .

A TOTALLY fair question: What would you do if money was no object?

If you did not "need" money and you were guided, instead, by ANY other variable (you choose, really - women, fame, power, sleep, binge eating, joy, passion, men, blue ribbons, smiling faces, etc.) what would you fill your days doing and why . . .

A rejoinder: What would you do if your motivation was that your children (or their children) would not have to worry about money? What would you do if your spouse could put money out of their mind? Your parents? Your favorite non-profit? The kid down the street that has nothing? Seriously.

What if your "obsession" with money is not so much about YOU hoarding dough but it is about you being able to provide for, protect, nurture, further, and empower the things you love. The things that fulfill you in ways money cannot? The happiness that cannot be bought (if you will)?

Why is working 5 long days per week, 50 weeks per year, for 40 years of your life so frowned upon? Why is considering money such a taboo? I find myself apologizing in interviews that I have an EXACT number that is based on actual math and need vs. want in mind and I tell would-be employers this number (a SIZABLE cut, I might add, over what I've been making the last few years).

I don't WANT a high salary. I NEED to honor my financial commitments to my daughter and my ex-wife. I NEED to pay my bills (student loans, housing, utilities, insurance). I NEED to eat. I NEED to have some fun with friends and family. I NEED to see my family back east. I NEED to put money away for my retirement, for my daughter's college education, to insure my life and her life, to ensure that I can travel with her and show her the world the way my parents showed me and she might show her children. I NEED a certain number on my pay stub to do all that. I NEED to know that I'm empowering myself and the women in my life to have the best life possible and I'm willing to absolutely, positively work my ass off to provide that.

I WANT to not feel bad about knowing all these things cost money and my time, energy, talents, passions, and outcomes are what I have to leverage for that money. I WANT people to understand that working  hard IS what I WANT to do. That 12 hour days (if my daughter is with her mother) are fine. I WANT people to agree that having my phone (and e-mail) on me at all times is good form. I WANT to not have to do the math to show there is still have PLENTY of time to knit, read, study, watch television, talk trash, have fun, go for walks, and sleep.

I NEED to sleep that I might dream of a better life for me and my child than my parents (who were public educators and far from wealthy) gave me. I WANT to make that happen. That is why I WANT NEED to work. Why I don't begrudge work. Why I resent having to make apologies for it.