Jack and I are regulars at our local McDonald’s restaurant. I’m up at the Dogs’ Refuge volunteering 3 times a week, and it’s become our little routine to stop at Macca’s (that’s how the Aussies call it) for breakfast, before I drive him to school and then park my car at the station and catch the train into the City. From there, it’s a short walk and another bus ride to the Refuge.
It means getting up at 6am, running around making sure the cat, chickens, Japanese Quail, budgerigars, cockatiels (weiros in Aussie slang), Japanese Koi, tropical fish and dogs have all been fed and watered, and I’ve had my shower and changed into fresh clothes, Jack has had his 5th prod to wake up and get dressed…all in order to get out of the house by 7am so we can have enough time for breakfast.
It may sound like a lot of hassle for nothing. Yes, and no. My mantra for my animal menagerie is “Guys have water, guys have food, guys are happy, guys are good”. That’s how I like to leave them, happy, fed and watered. I enjoy our Mother-Son bonding time over breakfast and on the ride to his school. I don’t mind the long hop-skip-and-jump commute, as it means I get to read my books on canine psychology and behaviour.
I don’t get paid as a volunteer at the Refuge, but I’ve found my Passion in animals, and I’m sure as hell going to follow my Passion no matter what. This may seem ridiculous, impractical, unrealistic, naive, silly… after all, we’re unfortunate enough to live on a giant Monopoly boardgame where Money is God. Those with money flaunt it but hold it tight for fear of losing their status. Those without money either try their best to get their hands on it, or don’t.
Money, however, doesn’t make you a better person. Sure, externally, with your snappy suits and polished shoes, with that genuine leather briefcase and ubiquitous cup of coffee in your other hand, you look for all the world like a Great Success. But behind the facade, you’re stressed beyond belief, with a large mortgage, perhaps a family to look after, you’re working 60 hours a week or more, your boss is a bully, you’re constantly being reminded that you need to achieve those statistics or else there’ll be no Christmas bonus for you this year, or the next, you’re popping pills and paying to see a psychiatrist, or even a lawyer because your marriage has broken down because you’re never home and even when you are, you bring your work home with you.
Yes, of course you have that huge big house by the seaside. You have that big garage full of luxury cars. Your children go to the most exclusive schools. You get to go on those long holidays to exotic locations. But then again you never see your house in daylight, because you leave for work at sparrow’s fart, and you’re only home after sundown. You only get to drive your flash car on weekends…and then they’re sports models so you can’t take the kids with you. You don’t see your kids anyway because they’re still in bed when you leave for work, and they’re back in bed by the time you get home at night. You work long and hard to save up enough money for that holiday…and then you overspend anyway and resign yourself to working extra hours next year, to make up for it.
Countless books have been written exhorting readers to “Follow Your Passion, and the Profits will Follow”, or “Follow Your Passion and Make Lots of Money!”, “Turn Your Passion Into $$$!”, “Passion Into Profit”, “Turn Your Passion Into Your Dream Job”, “Make Money From Doing What You Love”. To be honest, when I see titles like these on the bookshelves, I can’t help but think the people who write and read them are not in it for their Passion, but for the Money.
They’re not following their Passion. They’re just trying to like their job enough to justify carrying on doing it; their real pursuits are Money and Profit. Their real aim is not to discover and nurture their Passion, but to make their work bearable enough while they figure out how to get as much Money out of it in the least possible time, and then let’s get the hell out of here! I don’t think for one moment that these people will even contemplate staying in their jobs once they’ve accummulated enough dosh for their Great Escape, or once they’ve struck the Lottery. It’ll be more like “Hasta la vista, baby!”
If you’re truly Passionate about something, Money should not figure in the equation. Or, if it did, it’s as a means to an end, a secondary perk, not the Purpose of your Passion. If you’re truly Passionate about something, you’d happily do it for free. You do it for Love.
(Part 2 tomorrow)…😊