But I Already Have So Much More. . .
Darius Foroux has written a very provocative and enriching article here. “Imagine what you would do if you were materially rich” is the main challenge he offers. “Would you pay off debts?” “Would you buy a huge house?” “Would you travel the world?” Ah, we muse about more green lining our pocket — almost like money is an essential bodily organ or human virtue. Don’t we almost like all the characters in the Land of Oz who lack some human faculty or force? “If I only had a brain,” said Scarecrow. . .and off we go with“If I only had millions of dollars.”
One deeper truth that has often wowed me is that there seems to be an underlying emptiness to money or financial wealth. Any form of currency so drastically inflates or deflates over time relative to the cost of goods. For instance, many people around the world are still around who probably remember going to the general store with a couple of dollars(or other applicable currency)and being able to buy a whole basket of groceries for their family. Today, a couple of units worth of any currency would not even buy a small container of milk or a couple loafs of bread. To give a mind-boggling image here, one inflation calculator for the U.S. dollar shows that a dollar in 1940 had the value of $20.87 today! I didn’t even get into the value of currency or goods related to the economic region or area. One other interesting thing to note here is how profound the difference in cost is between many regions even in the same country. For instance, some differences between price and cost of living indexes for Chicago, IL and Birmingham, AL are as high as 10%, 30%, or even close to 60%(depending on category). This makes sense when you consider so many factors for each of these regions. But this is just one illustration to show the radical economic difference between two regions even in the same country! (Note, both the CPI inflation calculator and numbeo.com are amazing resources for answering a whole range of questions about cost comparisons, inflation, or other topics).
In considering Fourox’s question, I am forced to consider the habits of wealthier people as well. There is a common misconception that people who have more money are able to spend freely and frivolously. But it is so easy for numerous to see their wealth of funds dry up. How crazy is it that one estimate reads 3 out of 10 millionaires file for bankruptcy at some point. One of the main reasons for this goes back to inflation and cost index. While a million dollars(or similar currencies) is still a relatively large amount of money, it doesn’t go as far as it used to. For instance, if you use a million dollar lottery win to buy a nice large home, a couple super flashy rides, and live high on the town, you will see those cash reserves dry up fast. Even billionaires go broke on many occasions(though many of those prominent examples never legally had billions to begin with).
I am comforted and re-energized by Fourox’s conclusions. His average-length Medium read echoes the similar adage that “there’s more to life than money.” Yeah, you can have a million dollars or a billion dollars, super great! And don’t get me wrong, there’s so many priceless things that can come with wealth used wisely(think of how many of the world’s wealthiest have given billions and billions to charity). However, what about the immeasurable treasures each of us aspires to find(in addition to the blessings already received) in our lives? Those fulfilling, invigorating relationships that sustain us mentally and spiritually. The profession that pays little but allows us to follow our passion and put the sacred hours in our days to good use. The hobby, pasttime, or service role that helps us rebalance and remember what is most important. These are just a few of innumerable things money can’t buy.
Here are quite a few more priceless items that all the money in the world couldn’t buy. And this list is hardly scratching from the surface.
- Every breath you take
- The calm after a rainstorm
- Fun and exercise from sports or recreation
- Joy from cooking a delicious meal for others
- Being held by someone who loves you
- Looking at a loved one and wondering how you could be so fortunate to have such an amazing person in your life
- The pleasure of performing small acts of kindness that seem small to the world, but can mean the whole world to one or a few people.
- The moment you finally can move past something that used to eat you up inside, with thankfulness that things weren’t as bad as they could have been.
- The unbounded freedom of forgiveness, when both given and received.
- The satisfaction when someone else finally begins to understand your place and put themselves in your shoes.
- Losing count of the blades of grass in the yard, the grains of sand at the beach, or the stars in the night sky.
- Laughing at a good joke or funny event from months or years ago
- The relief felt after a certain ointment or medication finally stops an itch
- Reading one of your favorite passages from one of your favorite books for the hundredth time and gathering an insight you never realized before.
- A pleasant memory that resurfaces from long ago that reminds you of how things used to be and how they haven’t really changed that much.
- A film so moving it makes you cry every time you watch it.
- An adventure to a beautiful new place that completely transforms you.
- The pure pleasure of eating your favorite food.
- Sleeping until the late morning or early afternoon.
- Getting up early to watch the sunrise.
- Watching the sunset from beginning to end.
- The moment where you look yourself in the mirror and smile widely at your own personhood and life.
- The moment when someone else closest to you helps you remember your inner song when you’ve forgotten the words.
- The moment you realize your life is unfolding exactly as it is supposed to.
- Beautiful scenes of Nature that take your breath away, like a mountain range, mesmerizing sunset, or the ocean stretching into the horizon
- Glimpses of creatures in Nature beyond humans — such as ants scurrying about or trees stretching a little taller towards the sky or fish swimming happily in a pond.
- Joy from having achieved a goal, or on a whole different level having helped someone else achieve theirs’.
- The peace of mind, recentering, and growth gained after prayer or meditation, in addition to the re-connection.
- Health and happiness increased from quitting a bad habit.
- The full moon glowing on a clear and peaceful night.
- Pondering of life’s ever-wondrous mysteries.
- Realizing a new meaning hidden in a poem, painting, song, or other work of art
- Joy from rolling down a grassy hill in the summertime
- The fun of sledding down the snowy hill in wintertime
- The relief of cold, refreshing water on a muggy summer day
- The value and meaning found in service — whether volunteering, donating money, or just helping a family member, friend, or stranger in need.
- The promise that most of the problems humans and our world face can be mitigated, even solved.
- Gifts others cannot take away from you, like your smarts, talents, experiences, joys, hopes, dreams, dignity, and loves.
- Finding genuine wisdom and intelligence on Medium, Quora, or numerous other platforms out there.
- The sun’s rays pouring down your back on a warm summer day
- The sound of rain pitter-pattering the rooftop as you drift off to sleep on a cool spring night
- The pride that comes from a job well done
- The transformation taking place from stretching beyond one’s own perspective and considering the view of another
- Meeting new friends
- The good feelings gathered from a brisk workout, whether in the gym, at a sport, or just plain walking.
- Reconnecting with family, friends, or acquaintances you haven’t seen for a period of months or years
- Those times in your life where you can sense a loved one passed away still watching over you or even right beside you.
- Realizing many more of the infinite riches unfolding each second for each of us in our lives, as we strive to connect to what is numinous and divine at the heart of things.
- The joy felt from watching videos like these