“The real measure of your wealth is how much you'd be worth if you lost all your money.” -Unknown
Before I started this site, I found myself in a horrible financial situation. I lost two well-paying jobs within the same week, and I quickly realized my unemployment benefits would just barely cover my rent. At 28 years old, I felt like I should have been a lot more established and financially secure.
But something kind of beautiful happened. I began forming close relationships with people who also got laid off due to the economic meltdown. Since we were in the same boat, we had a new sense of camaraderie, and a reason to bond over our shared need for ingenuity.
With fewer distractions and abundant time to fill, we also had a mutual opportunity to discover how we could feel more purposeful and make a difference in other people's lives. Somehow, without having much money to spend, we became incredibly valuable to each other–and to the world.
In a capitalist society, it's easy to play the comparison game and assume you're somehow failing if you're not amassing wealth.
But when you take an inventory of the people who've made a big difference in your life, how frequently do you visualize their net worth alongside their smiling faces? When you look back at your happiest memories, how many of them required massive financial backing?
It would be irresponsible to suggest we don’t need money to live. But if there’s one thing economic times have taught us, it’s that we are far more valuable than the numbers on our checks. And sometimes the greatest joy comes from the simple things that don't require a dime.
Today if you find yourself fixating on money, ask yourself: What makes me feel rich in my heart, and what can I do with that today?
*This is an extension of a post published in September, 2009. Photo by joven12th