‘What if money was no object?’

Over the course of this school year, I have found myself being very introspective. I’ve been trying to answer all these questions running through my head. Most of them deal with the course of my life and how to attain my goals.

In teaching, I’ve been considering new ways of instruction. I have redoubled my efforts to write more and with a purpose. I’ve been searching for the way to my optimal happiness — that is, the perfect balance between work and play since I have found myself becoming more prone to stay in my house rather than go out and do something; all because I’ve been stressing about teaching and dealing with a whole host of new classes and curricula. I’ve been researching healthy eating and exercise habits to achieve a better physique. All of this, along with more, combines in my attempt to be a more complete and content individual.

Why am I going through all of this now? I don’t have a clue, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t enjoying considering it all. I have found some pleasure in dipping my toe in philosophical thinking. It has been fun, and I would like to think I’ve made progress.

Recently, a new question arose. It was one that I feel encompasses all of my searching. “What if money was no object?” That is a fascinating question. All of my other queries involved money at some level. Sure, you can’t buy happiness or teaching methods or the physique you crave (well, you can if you want to see a plastic surgeon, but you get what I’m saying).

See, the question was asked by philosopher Alan Watts in a video I found online. In it, he posed the question, “What would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life [. . .] When we finally got down to something which the individual says he really wants to do I will say to him you do that, and forget the money because if you say getting the money is the most important thing you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You will be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living; that is to go on doing things you don’t like, which is stupid. Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way.”

This got me thinking in a whole new direction. Watch the video (it’s only about 3 minutes long):

That’s powerful. I think it is potentially life-changing.

Recently Sterling was blanketed with snow thanks to a record-setting blizzard. I barely left my house for six days thanks to four snow days at school and the weekend. I thought about this video a lot. I really took the question to heart. What would I do if money were no object?

I answered that question very quickly, actually. I knew right away, but before I explain it, I feel I should mention that I enjoy teaching a great deal. Getting to interact with the students and see them grow is very rewarding. I don’t, and have never, regretted becoming a teacher. It brings me joy daily, especially the more I get settled in at Sterling and become more acquainted with the students. However, it is a job, and with that comes the normal drudgery any job has from time to time.

So, if money were no object, I know I would not be a teacher. What would I do?

I would write.

I would write books. Novels. Short stories. All sorts of fiction.

And when I wasn’t writing fiction, I would write non-fiction.

I loved being a journalist, so I would also write feature stories and cover breaking news events. I would focus on the feature stories. I love sitting down and talking with people. Learning their stories, and I firmly believe everyone has a story to tell. Those stories would make great features, and those features would be excellent foder for my works of fiction. The two go hand in hand.

As I was writing, I would travel. I would go from place to place, meet new people, talk to them, and write. I would chronicle my adventures via a blog, and I would probably snap photos along the way.

So this got me thinking of what it would take to do this. What would I really need? Basically, I figure I would need a vehicle, a cellphone, a computer, a camera, and a suitcase full of clothes and toiletries, at the minimum. Ideally the vehicle would be my motorcycle, but my Dodge Charger would work as well if I came up with more stuff I would need to haul with me. I would prefer the motorcycle because I love riding, and it would be awesome to see the country, or the world for that matter, from over my handlebars.

Naturally, all this got me excited. So I began to look around my house and see what I could do without. I love books, so getting rid of all of my books would be hard, but I could just get all of my books onto my iPad. Then I could take my entire library with me. I could donate all of my books to a library or school and pass my love of reading on to others. Sure, I’d have to add the iPad to my list of belongings to take with me, but that wouldn’t take up much room.

I also enjoy watching movies, and I have a pretty decent collection of DVDs. Of course, I could just load those onto my computer. Simple.

As for everything else, I figure I could do without it. I could sell it all, or I could just give it away since money is no object.

This sounds so easy. Why can’t I just do it? Like right now.

Well, I moved to Sterling because I felt I was being called here by God. I thought it was what I was supposed to do. It scares me a bit to change that then. However, then I thought that maybe God brought me here as just a stop along the path to what I’m supposed to do with my life. If that’s the case, then everything will be OK. If not, if I’m supposed to be here and here only, then God will give me another sign.

All I know at this point is that I am having these thoughts and ideas for a reason. I hope I figure out that reason soon, and if it results in me chasing this dream of mine, then that’s all the better.

Again, watch the video and let me know what you think. Does it make you reconsider things in your life? Did you have a moment of profound awareness like I did? Please let me know in the comments, and as always, thanks for reading.

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About toddvogts 833 Articles
Todd R. Vogts, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of media at Sterling College in Kansas. Previously, he taught yearbook, newspaper, newsmagazine, and online journalism in various Kansas high schools, and he ran a weekly newspaper in rural Kansas. He continues to freelance as a professional journalist from time to time. Also, Vogts is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the Journalism Education Association (JEA), and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), among others. He earned his Master Journalism Educator (MJE) certification from JEA in 2022. When he’s not teaching or writing, he runs his mobile disk jockey service and takes part in other entrepreneurial ventures. He can be reached at twitter.com/toddvogts or via his website at www.toddvogts.com.