Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Does this reader question/comment ring any bells with you?

“I have never understood the question (or variations on it) of “What would you do if you didn’t have to worry about money?” as advice for finding one’s calling. I guess it’s because I would stay in bed, eat junk food, and watch TV. I’ve never seen any job that had any real purpose either, so who I would want to trade places with is meaningless as well. Can’t really say I’ve ever felt alive.”

Here’s why the question makes sense.  In as much as you may think you really would lie around the house, eat Twinkies and watch Seinfeld reruns – my observation is that no one enjoys doing that for more than a couple of weeks.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with lots of people over the years for whom making money was no longer an issue.  But that really brings to the forefront the question: “What would you do if you didn’t have to worry about money?”  Those people don’t have the easy out that “I only work because I have to.” 

 See it’s actually a whole lot easier to just barely squeak by week after week – having no extra time and certainly no extra money.  In that situation no one expects you to deal with the important questions of life – you’re just doing what you have to do – right?  But when confronted with having more time and money than ever needed, a person has to really decide, “How am I going to invest my time – and money?”  “How am I going to make my life matter?”  Yes, you really can have only so many cars, cruises, houses, and pieces of art.  And my observation is that those people are immediately attracted to ideas that serve others.  I don’t see many who want to plan to spend it all selfishly and just die on the same day the last dollar is spent.  Rather, they, like some of you are already doing, look for ways to:

  • Share your time and money with those who have not had their same advantages
  • Bring hope and encouragement to others
  • Volunteer in a worthy church or community program
  • Start a social entrepreneurship venture
  • Sponsor a children’s sports program
  • Revitalize the downtown area of your town
  • Give money strategically – not just 10% dropped into the collection plate
  • Teach life skills to those with self-defeating patterns

‘Feeling Alive’ is one of those interesting by-products.  It’s not something we can approach directly – it flows out of a meaningful life.

You may think you are eagerly awaiting ‘retirement.’  But time invested in meaningful activities makes ‘retirement’ diminish in its attraction.

So go ahead:  spend three days staying in bed, eating Moon Pies, and watching the political drivel the news teams conjure up.  See how quickly you feel worthless in body, mind and spirit. 

But here’s the deal.  You don’t have to wait until retirement or until you win the lottery to decide what you would do if money were no longer the issue.  You really can just make those decisions now – live as if you have an abundance of time and money.  Start one of the above activities today.  And you might be surprised at what happens to your actual bank account when you realize what you already have to give and share.

And if you want to see what can happen to someone who just wants to eat, drink and be merry, check this out:  Eat, Drink and  Be Merry

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13 Responses to “Eat, Drink and Be Merry”

  1. Jay Peroni Says:

    Love this post! This is a typical response that I see as a financial advisor when I deal with hundreds of retirees (either retired or looking to retire). Many do not find their passion or calling simply because they do not look deep enough within themselves. I have seen hundreds of people retire to the ideal life they imagined (travel, golf, a life of leisure) and they all come back to the same conclusion: it was fun for a while, but it got old. We are built to be close to our Creator, to glorify and honor Him in all that we do.

    As I interview potential clients, there are three questions I ask people as they either look to retire (move on to the next chapter of life) or change careers: 1) What comes easy to you but others struggle at?
    2) What would you never stop doing even if you didn’t get paid for it?
    3) How can you provide value to others?

    These 3 questions usually generate some response and get their brains thinking. Don’t wait until retirement to “figure it out”. Starting thinking about what you are passionate about today even if you are ten or more years away from retirement.

    There are three components to this thought process:
    1) a vision: what is the end goal. be specific. This may change from time to time. But picture your ideal day to day in retirement. How will you serve God?
    2) what is your motivation?: why do you want to accomplish this goal?
    3) what is a cause you are willing to fight for? This provides you the determination to never quit despite the prospects of failure.

    Eat, drink, and merry is the way of the world that leads to a life of always wanting more. In Christ you can find contentment and the passion he has installed in you.

    Jay Peroni, CFP
    Author of The Faith-Based Millionaire

  2. Cookeville Weather Guy Says:

    Just like you Dan, I’ve asked many people the same question. It amazes me how many have a blank stare waiting for you as their answer!

    I ask myself the same question, too. You know what I’d be doing? I’d blog about the weather (I’m doing that now). I’d record and report the rainfall to a worthy organization and help teach others to do the same(I’m doing that now). I would work in ministry (active ministry that reaches others) at my church (I’m doing that now).

    What I wouldn’t be doing is working at a job where I report 8-5 each day unless it were my own gig (still have to work that part out!).

    I encourage people to live their dreams. Get off the sidelines and live. It is so important.

    Michael D.
    The Cookeville Weather Guy

  3. Vania Says:

    I’m passionate about helping the abandoned cats of my community. As I’ve moved from city to city, I’ve volunteered at humane societies, learned how to Trap Neuter and Return (TNR) feral cats and used the free services of feral cat groups to do this. Now, however, I’ve just moved to a new very small town and I have no resources. There are no vets near me that will spay/neuter the stray and feral cats for free, no caregivers that will feed the feral cats, no no-kill shelters that will take the adoptable cats and kittens and place them in good forever homes. I feel that I have to do something to help the homeless cats of my community but the prospect of starting my own non-profit organization, finding the volunteers I’ll need, lining up the vets and getting some money together to do all of this is just too daunting for me. I find myself paralyzed with fear. Where do I find the courage to do what I feel in my heart must be done?

  4. TeeJay Says:

    “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

    Dan, I’ve been given a vision for what my life could be and should be.

    In essence, I’ve been given the burden of answering that question and working towards what I believe is my calling. I think about that question every day. I visualize every possibility for success and the impact that our success (we’re running it as a family business) will have on our family, our friends, our community and the world.

    As I have been working toward the goal, God has been working on me to make sure I’m ready for what is coming. Without getting too philosophical, as I focus on the visions of what could be (and should be) in my life, my goals change. As I ponder what implications this will have on people around me, my path becomes more clear, my determination becomes stronger. It’s like Stephen Covey says when he talks about beginning with the end in mind. Your actions and activities will all start to align and you will take steps that all lead to the end result. Really bizarre things start happening when your actions start getting in line with your goals. When everything you think about leads you closer and closer. You start living your dreams.

    That is really counter-intuitive. It’s frightening, it makes you feel crazy and at the same time, things start happening without you doing anything to make them happen. I have to quote a friend of yours here: “Live like no one else so you can live like no one else.” (Dave Ramsey). And what that means to me is this: Start dreaming your dream and working on the small parts you can work on right away, because as you incorporate that dream into your “be-ing”, into everything you do, things will start happening. And make sure you include other people in your dreaming because the goal is to take as many people with you as possible.

    Just remember, there’s as much change that has to happen on the inside as has to happen around you to make this dream work. The good news is, that as you work toward your dreams, you will be acting upon things in your heart that have to align with your dream, and as you get closer and closer to making that vision or dream happen, you’ll notice how everything on the inside has come along with you for the ride.

    I’m having struggles with letting go and trying not to manage the outcomes, but I have to look back and see how this venture started every day and think “WOW, that wasn’t me doing that, it was someone else. I have to keep doing my part or this will never happen. And it should.”

    Thanks for all your words, questions, hints, helpful advice and resources.
    I love “No More Mondays” and your blog/website/podcasts.

  5. TeeJay Says:


    I just read your post after I submitted mine. I’m headed to your website right now. Guess there were two teachers lurking around in my life today.

    I would like to throw some things at you about my vision if you have a few minutes. I know there is a reason behind what my heart is calling on me to do today. Risking out to talk to people is one thing I have been working on as I get closer to my dream.

    And by the way, we’re “going public” with our vision on October 11th.

    Tom J.

  6. Dave Says:

    Giving 10% to your church is giving strategically!

  7. Cork Says:

    Dan –

    This post brought so many thoughts to the surface! I wanted to share a couple with you.

    First of all, it is unfortunate that the average person (including most Christians) thinks that “retirement” means to detach oneself from anything that resembles effort and that it can only happen at the end of a long, tedious period of dissatisfying labor.

    The modern concept of retirement has basically been reduced to a “stick and carrot” approach to work where a person works for 40 plus years (stick) in order to take their ease (carrot) for a few years of “retirement”.

    This is the poor man’s way of being “king for a day”! The illusion of power with no responsibility.

    This concept has been put forth by those who need to utilize large pooled workforces to produce their goods and services and has been fueled, promoted and sold to the point that whole categories of products and services have bee built around it. Everything from housing to retail shopping to insurance to financial planning services are focused on “retirement”. Today, this definition is almost universally accepted as the norm.

    Second, your premise that most people have an erroneous view of what rich people do with their lives and would rather work at menial or subsistence wages rather than be burdened with what they would do if they had the time and money is brilliant.

    As one who has lived under that school of thought most of my adult life the realization that we can successfully pursue our dreams and prosper is like being liberated from a drug addiction. The thought of freedom is exhilarating, yet the pull of the familiar comfort of the old life is almost overwhelming.

    That is why individuals like you are so important. You provide a clear, viable plan to follow and motivation to keep going. Because of you and others like you, I am pursuing my dream of writing and motivating others to get off the bench and get in the game.

    Thank you,

    Cork H.

  8. Curtis S Says:

    How unfortunate someone would view their life like this and have such low expectations of their opportunities. How unfortunate one would view the world so narrow. We live in the greatest country that has ever existed. Everyone here has the opportunity to fail, try again, fail, try again, and succeed. People want to succeed beyond their wildest imaginations but want no risk. I watched the movie Meet the Robinson’s last night. I love the motto “Keep moving forward”
    Just think what we could do if we just keep moving forward. I know frpm my own life when I stopped moving forward. I failed. But I keep trying and every day I wake up excited about the day. I have a wonderful wife, two grown kids who are on their own and a fabulous granddaughter. I am blessed and grateful.
    And I keep on trying. I have not found my passion, but I am searching. I am blessed that I have employment I really enjoy and pays well. But it pays the bills as I try different things.
    I have a acronym for goals
    G stands for go
    O is for organize
    A is achievable
    L is livable
    But the first is GO, DO, Keep moving forward.

  9. Brian Says:

    I fully believe in living life and enjoying it NOW instead of waiting till retirement. So many people i know think that retirement is when they can start living the life they want.

    Starting with the goal in mind… good advice. What should you do when you have many interests that could turn into something big, but not sure which to persue? Its hard to set a goal if your head is constantly swimming trying to figure out which way to go. Any good books out there to read that will help distill many interests down to those that coincide with my gifts and talents?


  10. therealmotherlode Says:

    Stay in bed three days, eating moon pies listening to the political drivel….too funny….

    Thanks for the smile.

  11. Gail Says:

    Vania –
    I share your passion. All journeys start with a single step. Start small. Save 1 cat. Go from there.
    Same situation when I moved here. I have been practicing TNR of the feral cats and rehoming the others myself, and our neighborhood no longer has a stray cat problem, but it’s taken 7 years. The local vets have worked with me on discounts, some free or at cost meds, and payment plans. They also have a corkboard for adoptions. I have helped dozens of cats and many litters of kittens over the last 7 years. I still get pictures and updates of some of my “babies” from their new parents. It’s very rewarding.

  12. ken Says:

    When I first read this I totally related to the question.

    I have been asked that many times and pondered it myself and know exactly what I would do. there are so many worthwhile things to do in life! I have a list as long as my arm of good things to do if I had the time and resources.

    Maybe I am missing something, but I must disagree that it is “it’s actually a whole lot easier to just barely squeak by week after week – having no extra time and certainly no extra money.” Working a 60 hour + week with a boatload of repairs and issues waiting at home to address in my ‘free’ time only to collapse in bed to do it again tomorrow is not ‘easier’ in my view.

    After a few corporate downsizings and layoffs, my ‘career’ at 48 is at a low point. Working in this economy, i like many others i know, just have to do what we can to pay the bills week to week and keep all the balls in the air.

    With 5 paid days off a year, I yearn for the FREEDOM to actually have the TIME and money to enjoy investing into the world, experience the joy of volunteering and feel like I am making a difference for the Lord again.

    Time gives you that freedom invest and money buys the time (as freedom from HAVING to spend so much time earning so little of it) . As I have neither in excess, it is really debilitating to the spirit.

    maybe i should read your book.

  13. Loretta Says:

    Doing any of the things you suggested is easier said than done. I know it, I’ve been there. It takes determination just to put one foot before the other and get going. And yes, it does make you feel alive, but it doesn’t make you alive. Actually, not many of us really know what we want to do in life, and even if we do, it may not bring us the greatest happiness. True happiness lies in is doing the will of God. “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord,”plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 God has a plan and purpose for each one of us, but we can know these plans only if we are in a right relationship with God. But God is a Holy God and as long as there is SIN in our life, we cannot be right with God. God loves us and He desires to have a relationship with us. He wants to be our Father, to gather us, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. He wants the best for us, and when this life is over, He wants us to come home to Him. The only way is through His Son Jesus. Only Jesus is able to save us from our SIN which keeps us apart from God. Union with God, that is what it takes to be Fully Alive, now and forevermore.

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