Saturday, February 16, 2008

Money for Nothing

I have been thinking a lot about the effects money, or the lack there of, has on us as humans. The saying that money can't buy happiness is true, as far as that goes, but it can buy comfort. A comfortable home, good food, things to make life easier. But that isn't happiness.

And what is happiness anyway? For someone living on the street, it could mean a hot meal and bed to sleep in. For a CEO of a multinational corporation, it could mean a new acquisition in a previously untapped market. But are those things really happiness or is it just momentary pleasure? I like to think that happiness is being content with everything in your life, from your home to your wardrobe and ending with your bank account.

I find that the things that make me truly happy have absolutely nothing to do with money. A spontaneous hug from my teens makes me happy. A kiss good morning from my husband makes me happy. Watching the birds playing in the birdbath makes me happy. Planting seeds in the earth makes me happy. Watching a plant burst from the soil and struggle to make a flower makes me happy. Giving someone a gift that I have made with my own hands makes me happy. My family enjoying a meal that I prepared makes me happy.

Having money left in the bank after I pay all of the bills does not make me happy, it gives me a feeling of satisfaction, but not one of happiness. Buying a new TV does not make me happy. Nor does wearing a new outfit. Or being the first to see a new movie or to eat at a new restaurant. All of those things just don't do it for me. I guess I am just not into the "stuff" collecting. I have seen people work long hours and then spend all of their money on eating out or keeping up with the Joneses. And I just don't get it.

So I don't have the latest model of cell phone that can send videos and take pictures, or use a GPS in my car. Why do I need those things? What possible good would they do me? I have a basic phone that can make and receive calls and that is about it. My truck gets me where I need to go and if I get lost, I have a $2 map under the seat. And if the map isn't good enough, I can call for directions. I do not need a digital voice to give me turn by turn directions to within 4 inches to my parent's house. Of course, the directions to my dad's place is more like "...then turn off the paved road, and then after about a mile, you pass the hay field on the left..."

I guess what I don't understand is the overwhelming drive some people have to collect money just so they can spend it. Yes, it is nice to be able to have pretty things and fast cars and a big house, but I just don't need that. I can be happy without all of the "stuff" that most people take for granted. I have my family, a roof over our heads, food in the pantry, good friends to visit with, and the knowledge that, regardless of technology, I actually want the things I have, not just have the things I want.

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