I’ve come to accept I will probably not drive a Porsche, or travel the world, or even at this point retire. My bucket list now includes things that may not sound like a bucket list:  genuine happiness. Perfect health. Joyful times. And although a tropical sunset sounds great, I’d really love true inner peace.

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But I don’t know if I’m on the right track when it seems so many people just revolve around money.

I’ve written about my status before – poor little rich girl who has traveled a rocky financial road. After the ups and downs of first having a lot then unexpectedly losing it later, we work hard and hope each month we are able to make ends meet. But here’s where that reality has changed my thinking.

I’m not sure money really does buy happiness. That’s not to say I don’t wrestle with the discomfort of paying the bills. But I’ve listened to friends who never worry about cash, and it’s actually not too pretty. Prestige is always on their minds, status, image – they base their self-value on that. Their worlds revolve around the size of their house or what kind of car they drive.

focus-on-the-goodI know someone who recently paid cash for her custom-designed European car, then had it shipped overseas and delivered right to her door. This luxury mobile cost more than a small house but she yells at her family for using too much toilet paper. (Because toilet paper is expensive you know.) Doesn’t sound like she’s too happy to me, even with that big, fancy car.

Or a father I know complains about his son’s college roommate’s family’s wealth, because he worries his son feels bad. The catch to this complaint is that he makes so much money himself he even has his own plane. But it’s allegedly less than his son’s roommate, so I guess he’s feeling poor.

We just watched a documentary about a father in India who sells chocolate bars on a train to feed his family. But it’s 100 degrees there so his chocolates melted and travelers didn’t buy them. It took him two years to save for a cooler to store his chocolates. A cooler. Something we all have in our basement or garage, or can afford to go out and buy. I wanted to send some coolers to India because guess what, I can.

wealth-is-a-mindsetI got a chain email the other day that said to spend all your money while you are alive so your children and grandchildren don’t inherit it and spend it for you. I found it offensive because I would be thrilled if I had money to leave for my kids and would give them both the shirt off my back, as well as my last dime.

So my status quo has nothing to do with a bank account. I am grateful for my place in life, whatever that place may be. I give to the homeless frequently because I have a home. I went for years without a car so my son could have mine for work. I use as much toilet paper as I need and am beyond happy about that. I am able to buy food and also keep it cold.

Gratitude is my wealth, because money is never free.

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