Not All Decisions Should Be Rooted in Money

Sean Baumstark avatar

by Sean Baumstark |

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I feel like I’ve recently made a huge decision. To some, my choice may be a no-brainer, but others may relate to the tug of war I’ve had with myself. Whether you can relate or not, if you know me and my get stuff done philosophy, I’m sure you’ll understand.

Last year, I wrote about the importance of rest and encouraged readers to do what is necessary for their own health. I sometimes have a hard time swallowing my own medicine, though. This is especially true when “rest” interrupts more than a couple of days, a reality when living with Friedreich’s ataxia.

It’s fairly easy for me to skip the gym or a night out with friends when I’m exhausted and need to go to bed early once or twice a month. The real struggle is when I seem to be in a constant state of exhaustion, and no matter what I do, there is no remedy.

This has been the case for me recently. I returned to work the first week of February after an injury placed me on a leave of absence for almost four months. I got back into the swing of things full time, working five days a week, 8-10 hours a day. My independent and stubborn nature didn’t anticipate any issue with this.

Of course, that was until I felt like I was barely treading water. Progress with physical therapy slowed way down, I was exhausted by noon every day, and I found myself mentally and physically fried almost every night. Everything I’m committed to, including my podcast and de:terminence, the organization I founded, began to feel overwhelming. I found myself staring at the wall, uninterested in doing anything that required the least bit of concentration.

My big decision? Choosing my well-being over my income. Although I had been contemplating a reduction in work hours, I was waiting to pull that trigger until I had confirmation of financial support through state disability.

After a couple of days of serious consideration, I finally decided that not every decision should be rooted in finances. At some point, my mental, physical, and emotional stability and health must outweigh income, right? Absolutely. That question is easy to answer today, but it was not easy to arrive at that decision.

If my body needs rest and a more concentrated effort with physical therapy during my recovery, the long-term dividends far outweigh what I might gain by treading water and getting stuck in the mentality of maximizing my ability to show up to work every day. The reality of it is a slow deterioration in my follow-through, my output, and, eventually, my attitude.

I didn’t reach this decision on my own. In fact, words from my father that still echo in my head brought me to a realization. In just a few days, I’ll be facing the 10-year anniversary of my dad’s passing, a loss of life that came much too early because of cancer.

My dad underwent a bone marrow transplant shortly after my life had changed completely due to my sexuality, my faith, my marriage, my career, and so much more. Shortly after my drastic adjustments in life, I found myself burning the midnight oil just to maintain my bills and keep gas in my car. I was working two jobs on opposite sides of town, so I’d often sleep in my car just to maximize rest and avoid wasted time on the commute. 

My dad was in the hospital for 21 days, and I was committed to visiting him every day, no matter what time. I selfishly woke him up a few times after midnight just to hear his voice. Although I felt bad in those moments, I don’t regret waking him.

During one of those visits, he lovingly told me that he didn’t like the schedule I was keeping, and he warned me against wearing myself out. He understood the storm I was in, and he was constantly exploring and offering ways to help me.

He had no idea he’d never leave that hospital, and I had no idea how much his advice would help me navigate more storms in my life.

I’m all for getting stuff done and pushing personal limits. After all, you never know your limits until you’re up against them. However, there is no good excuse for sacrificing your well-being for the sake of remaining at those limits. At some point, everyone needs to retreat, revise, and go after “it” again.

I have no idea if disability insurance will help with my temporarily reduced work status, but I realize that not every decision has to be rooted in finances.


Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


Julie Cassinelli avatar

Julie Cassinelli

You are so right, I think we allow that thing called "pride" also get in our way. I'm glad you are taking time for YOU

Sean Baumstark avatar

Sean Baumstark

Thank you Julie, and thanks for reading!

Dana avatar


To this day this is one of the top 3 things that i brag about learning from my father. Thank you sean. I love you so much. Dana

Mary Beth Farley avatar

Mary Beth Farley

Thanks again Soooo much for sharing Sean 😀


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