In The Pursuit of Happiness

A guy my husband knows recently wrote this on a piece of paper:

Money buys love = Happy Wife Happy Life.

I have to disagree on this one. Money can only buy a certain degree of happiness. There have been numerous studies showing this. In today’s world we cannot live entirely without money. We still need some kind of currency in order to meet our basic needs of life.

Now lets think about it. What really makes us happy. When you look at my parents’ generation, they were the baby boomers. They were brought up in the life of pursing the “American Dream.” The dream of the house in the suburbs surrounded by the white picked fence, the 2.3 kids, and 1.4 dogs. In the 1950’s the standard was for the man to go out and work to bring home the bacon. The woman’s job was to stay home, cook, clean and raise the kids.

Does this lifestyle truly make the whole family happy? I would much rather live comfortably than trying to live a life of “keeping up with the Jones'”. Three years ago, I chose to sacrifice my career to take a job in the town we live in, rather than commuting to the city. Taking a job in town means I can be close to our kids. I can pick them up from school; I can take them to their after school activities. Had I been working in the city, we would be paying for someone else to raise our kids. Our kids would not be able to do any after school activities. My husband had decided to start his own business to be home for the girls and I. We chose to sacrifice a larger salary for happiness. Our parents don’t understand why we want to sacrifice a high salary in return for a modest life with our kids. A few years ago, my husband was forced to return to his previous career in order to help our family get by after a natural disaster hit us. His dream is to return to his business full time so he can be around and spend time with our children.

I had read a parable one day about a fisherman who went out each day and brought home enough fish for his family. On occasion, he would catch an extra couple of fish to trade at the market. A rich man was vacationing at the beach and observed this fisherman. He asked why the fisherman didn’t fish more so he could buy bigger boats to then sell more fish to the canneries. He asked why the fisherman didn’t aspire to work hard to become rich so he could enjoy his family when he retires. The fisherman responded by asking why he would want to wait to enjoy his family later in life when he gets to enjoy them now while they are all young?

I would rather choose to be like the fisherman.

…we are all on the same path, all of us wanting the same things: love, joy, and acknowledgment. – Oprah Winfrey, What I Know For Sure

To me, money can’t buy these things. With money, does the person really love you? With money, can you really find joy? With money, can you really buy yourself acknowledgment? My children bring me my greatest joy. Seeing my husband happy brings me joy. Going for a simple walk and enveloping myself in the beauty if nature brings me joy. The same goes for love. Receiving the unconditional love from your children or a pet fills me with love. Having the kids run to the door to great me when I get home fills me with all 3; love, joy and acknowledgment. None of these cost anything.

It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy. The love and joy my family gives me makes me happy.


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