Lessons Learned From NOLA

This post is by Joe Stephens

As you all know, I got back relatively recently from a visit to New Orleans. I won’t bore you with more details on that trip, but I do want to share some lessons of which I was reminded as a result of my time there.

  1. Time, Money, Horizontal, Speculate, Crisis, DecisionTime is better than money. Most summers over the last several years, I’ve taught summer school. I did it for the money. So what did I do to decompress from a satisfying but long and stressful school year? I did more school. This year I decided that I needed time more than money. Granted, this is easy for me to say in my circumstance, making more money than I need to live. For the first time in my life, I don’t live from paycheck to paycheck, so I have the luxury to make that decision. But my point is that many of us choose money over time because we’re either living beyond our means or we’re just accumulating wealth for no reason other than to have it. I’ve been saying to Jenna, whom I love as a daughter, that I would visit her for years, but for various reasons I just never took the time. This year I decided that I was finished with that and just bought that plane ticket. And when I got there, I spent more money than I probably should have, but I did it without guilt because I got to share some wonderful experiences with someone very special to me. Speaking of which…
  2. 20160706_194525
    Take that trip you’ve been putting off!

    Experiences are way better than things. In fact, other than the small number of things we need to keep us alive and healthy, practically the only reason that things matter is to remind us of great experiences and the loved ones with whom we shared them. I used to try to find happiness with stuff. A new car every couple years, a newer, faster computer, the latest gadget–but they never made me happy. And I sacrificed the ability to do things with friends and family to get them. That’s something I don’t want to do anymore.

  3. Now is better than later. This summer has reminded all West Virginians that bad things come out of nowhere and you never know when a day is your last. So take that visit, make that phone call, stop saying maybe next year–do it now. I’m not saying to go into debt so you can take a cruise. I’m saying that we often choose to put things off because we’re tired or stressed or we’re just too plain lazy, thinking that we have plenty of tiGraffiti, Colorful, Now, Street Art, Mural, Facademe to get around to spending quality time with those we love and seeing the places we dream of someday and, for many of us, that someday never comes. So make someday now.

There you go. I hope you find those edifying.


sunrise cover option 7Joe’s newest book, Dawn of Grace, just debuted on June 9. It’s available on Amazon.

ITS Cover ArtCheck out his third book, In The Shadow on Amazon

kindle cover

Take a look at his debut book, Harsh Prey on Amazon 

Kisses and Lies Cover Michele croppedTake a look at his second book, Kisses and Lies on Amazon


10 thoughts on “Lessons Learned From NOLA

  1. Well said, Joe. I think that sometimes we are all guilty of going after “things” instead of “peace.” Whether or not we have a lot of money there are ways to de-stress our lives. Your recognition of and carrying out of your plans to have a stress-free summer is a challenge to us all!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great ‘lessons’ on liveing a life well lived. Sometimes we need to just that, take time to follow our hearts and passions. Here’s to many more ‘lessons’ and the joy they bring. Doris

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post and I wholeheartedly agree, Joe. I try to travel and see places I want to see and visit friends and family as often as I can. Because you’re right, you never know what can happen and the time to live and experience the world is now.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love your lessons, Joe, and you are SO RIGHT! I especially like #2 — I have boxes of “stuff” that need to be gone through, sorted, and either donated or tossed; they’ve been in those boxes for years and that “stuff” is obviously things I don’t need and certainly shouldn’t just keep the garage. I wish I had been wiser from age 25 to 45 and done without and put more money away then I could be having more “experiences” as well as more money and not be living check-to-check. Slowly, though, I’m chipping away so that hopefully five years from now I’ll be more comfortable financially and can have more experiences such you recently enjoyed. Glad you made that trip and thanks for sharing your insights and experiences with us!


  5. I whole heatedly agree. There is something liberating in travel and have memories over junk. The more we experience in the world, the better we’ll be.


  6. I’m very much into using time (and money) these days to keep up with people rather than accumulating things as well, Joe. I’m heading a good way across the world to California soon to attend a family wedding – instead of doing something practical with the money like installing a new back door so that winter winds don’t blow in freely. I’ll make a doorstop instead! I’m very pleased to hear about you making you NOLA trip. (I confess If I’d not read earlier posts about your trip I’d have been wondering what NOLA referred to.) My husband loves jazz and went to New Orleans for a weekend when he was on business in Houston but I’ve never been there yet.


  7. Great post. I heartily agree with all three. Things haven’t been that important to Hubs and I, sometimes to our kids’ embarrassment. But we do have good memories of trips and outings, and our kids got a good education. Be nice to have more in the bank, but we’ll survive.


  8. I think you are right. Tomorrow is not promised, so we need to take advantage of today. I love downing time with people, and I live getting out and doing things. Often if we have the time we don’t have the money, or if we have the money we don’t have the time. Cher’ley


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