Heidi Isern

writer. thinker. whiskey drinker.

For Love or Money…Ride the ‘Coaster

A friend posted, ‎”If you are not either broke or a millionaire by the time you are 30, you are not trying hard enough.”


I deftly commented, “I would argue that if you haven’t fallen in love or written a poem by the time you are 30 then you are trying too hard to be a millionaire.”


He responded, “You are right. But I would argue that you should fall in love or write a poem by the time you are 20!”


And then again and again and again….


Money, to me, is an afterthought.

It is Valentine’s day and on and offline, love is in the air. In an unprecedented move I am going to write about a holiday twice. This will be my second Valentine’s day blog entry, mainly encouraged by the so called ‘manly men’ that not only read but also sent me messages after my last entry. I think one is sending flowers to the nursing home today. Their messages confirmed that even stoics are softies in secret, and I became encouraged to write on in sappy delight.

Over the weekend the birds and bees buzzed around San Francisco. I was lucky enough to witness new loves of all different shapes.

“We spend all night talking…”

“It’s the beginning…I am not sure what will happen but I’m not sleeping…”

“I just got flowers from Europe!”

And then there was inevitable heartbreak. I wonder how many people end relationships before the 14th, too burdened by the pressure of the day. One was so downtrodden silver tears filled up her eyes as she recounted the pain of separation. Another explained the horror of waking up every morning to confront the empty, leering space in the bed. But neither had, when asked, any regrets about falling. After all, we all pick ourselves back up eventually.

Whether it is for love or for money, I do not understand people that are afraid of jumping and instead choose the safe route.   A close friend once put it best, “Which ride do you want at the fair? Do you want the merry-go round or the roller coaster?”

I have tried to remove the complacent merry-go-round riders from my circle of friends.  From entrepreneurs to poets, I much  prefer the company of adrenaline junkies, living life as one big adventure. We roller coaster riders are either a brave interesting lot or just too lousy at math to calculate the risks involved.

While living the highs and lows, I have been fortunate enough to have traveled to Brazil twice. In Brazil everyone is obsessed with life. I have never witnessed greater happiness than in the favelas outside of Rio de Janiero. In the dilapidated shacks with light bulbs blinking scant electricity, and scrawny chickens loudly clucking, people smile. The Cariocas laugh, dance and make love in the streets as if it were all part of the same movement. Feet hop to a joyous samba, unaware that their hand-me-down shoes are two sizes too big. Love for life starts at birth and doesn’t end until the grave. I have been told, “We don’t need shelter nor food. All we need to survive is love and water.”

For without love, what good is a million dollars?

A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.
Mahatma Gandhi

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