Cash or Friends? Where are Your Priorities?

friendship money warrior spirit work

This comment—that I was exceptionally dedicated to my friend—made me stop and think about all the sacrifices I’m making in order to make the trip. In truth, there are a lot. I’m giving up 4 days of work, and undertaking two 9+ hour drives. But I am and have been looking forward to the trip since we arranged it a month ago.

I started wondering what about my commitment to my friend seems so exceptional. The fact that I’m willing to give up a lot of money to spend time with him might seem a bit extreme I guess, especially in our society. But friendship seems much more valuable, and certainly contributes much more to my happiness than money ever did. The drive hardly seems like a sacrifice, since we will get to talk the whole way down. As the Irish saying goes (something like), a friend makes a journey half as long.

To ease the burden of a loved one, I’d give up a bit of cash and make a long journey in a heartbeat. I don’t think that should be an exceptional idea. I don’t think that we should attract notice because we are willing to go to great lengths for our friends and family. And yet, I feel like we are often distanced from those who matter the most to us. A work obligation often takes the highest priority. Money and cash trump all.

I do believe in doing good work, and standing behind your craft. Certainly, we should not shirk our obligations just to hang out with friends, but when money or convenience come to dominate our value system, I think it is time to reassess how we order our priorities.

A Happiness Economy

An economy based on happiness, which sounds fanciful, is actually being discussed by leading social thinkers as a necessary alternative to the current capitalistic system that encourages us to work ourselves to death and rewards nothing by profitability.

It would completely re-order the values we grow up with to place connection and relationships at the center of our world, with money somewhere in the back. Businesses and ideas would be judged not by how much money they make, or how easy/thought-free they are, but by how much they enrich our lives and add beauty to the world.

It is a little utopian, but I don’t think it’s really the paradise most people think it is. We’d still have to work a lot. We’d probably spend less and own less.

The difference is that our time would be spent on more meaningful pursuits that hoarding money.

I guess it comes down to what you wish you’d done more of during your lifetime. Imagining myself looking back, I realized that I didn’t want to say, “I wish I had spent more time with my best friend instead of working so much.” I didn’t want to remember that I had made money a priority over my friends, even in trivial things like accompanying them on 18 hour errands.

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