OMG Am I a Workaholic?

This post is part of the topic Happiness, Hobbies and Money for Women’s Money Week.

In the movie, City Slickers, Mitch (Billie Crystal) quizzes Curly, the old cowboy (Jack Palance) about the meaning of life. Curly claims that the meaning of life is “Just one thing”. Mitch finds out that the one thing is a different thing for each and every person. He realizes his one thing is his family.

What’s your ‘One thing’?

Although I dote on my family and much of my life revolves around them, over the years, I have come to believe that my one thing is work. I get a huge charge out of accomplishing things. I love building on old accomplishments and strive to accomplish new things daily. Work gives me a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment that stands alone and apart from my family relationships and interactions. It provides adventure, learning, rewards, challenges, opportunities and completions.

I think your ‘one thing should’ be what brings meaning and satisfaction to your life. It should be something that you can’t wait to get up in the morning to conquer. It should include activities that bring peace, contentment, thrills and excitement as you move through them to your greater goal.

Am I a work workaholic?

By work, I don’t necessarily mean my day job. I truly enjoyed my life as a computing professional. It provided me with the adventure, learning, rewards challenges and opportunities, but my day job wasn’t all that I define as ‘work’. Work could also be getting the front garden weeded and looking great. It could be organizing an extended family vacation to Yellowstone. It could be performing a hobby related activity.

Over the years I have had many non-paying ‘work’ activities. I worked hard to crochet an afghan for each child and niece and nephew for their wedding gift. I worked hard to learn to play the guitar; condition myself to run a 5K at 50+ years; and learn how to do a non-tandem sky-dive.

Non-paying work activities – a.k.a. hobbies.

Financial freedom for us, came at the price of years of scrimping, saving and working at paid jobs. It was worth it! But, because of all the scrimping and saving and working at paid jobs, most of my early hobby activities were of necessity either low cost or no cost. We didn’t budget, we either spent on necessities or saved any excess. We certainly didn’t budget for hobbies or activities.

If the hobby costs couldn’t be absorbed by the weekly spending budget, we chose something else. There is usually a free alternative. Instead of taking the kids to the amusement park and spending money on rides, we took them to the local free park and let them exercise with the other kids on the monkey bars and slides and swings.

One of my hobbies (and habits) is exercise. I’ve done morning aerobics and weight training and toning for over twenty years. Instead of a gym membership, I started with records and tapes at home. Once I earned enough to add a gym membership, I still used tapes and DVDs at home and found a Y close to work for a noon time routine, a Y fee that my company helped me pay.

If you are in that same situation, you can still find ways to entertain and accomplish without spending big bucks. Today we have so many blogs and web sites to tell us how!

For instance, if your one thing is physical sporting competition, stay local to avoid the travel costs. Don’t pick a competition that requires a slew of equipment or special clothing. Find free places to practice and free events in which to compete.

Make your hobby pay.

If your hobby does cost money, try to find a way to make it pay for itself.

I love to find bargains at garage and estate sales and thrift stores. I also seem to accumulate antiques and collectibles  Worse still, hubby also does. To participate in this hobby costs money – gas money, money to buy things, money for space to store them and time. To make this hobby pay, I rented a booth in an antique mall to sell a lot of the bargains I found. Having this booth a) gave me a really good excuse to go bargain hunting b) occasionally found us a piece we had to keep ourselves c) gave me a chance to work with real antiquers when I worked in the mall and d) financed (a lot of) the expenses.

I also love to write. Starting my own blog and web sites and also writing for others pays me (partially) for the time I spend doing it and the laptop on which I work.

What’s your ‘one thing’ and how do you make it pay for itself?