Spring is a Time to Reset Expectations
Life is really good at throwing curveballs. They go down, then go up, and we rarely have time to react when they go either way. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about serendipity and boredom. And about my impatience with normalcy. Writing, right now, is not enough.
I’ve been struggling with time. Too much of it.
Last night I ran into a friend, a cardiologist. He works with heart transplants. I asked him how things were going and he said he was having a really good day. When I asked why, he said he had gotten a $75000 raise. Yes, that’s not a typo. $75k. Apparently the hospital system he works for was losing personnel to a competing system. The other hospital was paying considerably more. So they had to rebalance and they brought their MDs up to salary parity.
The interesting thing about this bizarre situation is that my friend was pretty sanguine about it. He was already making really good money. When I asked him how this would affect him he said he would buy a sports car he wanted. In other words, it really would not affect him.
He is a good man and was aware of the absurdity of the situation. We laughed about it and moved on to another subject. It is easy to be a white male and reasonably successful and read abstractly about the notion of inequality. But the sheer craziness of someone getting a huge raise like that made me think about the real nature of inequality.
I once was given a $9000 bonus, unexpectedly. My boss at the time knew he had given me a huge, extremely challenging task and he knew I hated trying to make something work that obviously didn’t. These days I can live for months on $9k but back then it did not seem like a big deal.
In hindsight, though I was making ‘real’ money back then, I was not happy. Like my doctor friend, money was not the route to that. He knows the BMW M3 he wants is not a path to happiness either. I suspect that dealing with life and death on a daily basis is likely responsible for his lack of enthusiasm about a pile of money.
Money has nothing to do with happiness.