Sunday, April 06, 2008

It's not how much you have

I went to a serious estate sale yesterday, there were so many people at this sale that the line to pay was so long. There were years and years of accumulated stuff, things still in boxes, all going for a fraction of the original price. Some things were free, others were going for $1 each. There is money in every household, more money than we realise but we still feel we could do with more money.
It's not how much you have but what you do with what you have. Having money doesn't make one happy, not having money doesn't make one happy either. At least, the poor know what they want- more money. What about the rich, do they know what they want, they already have money? One author said, 'the trick to money is having some!' I agree, it's having some money and doing the most with it.
Depression and mental illness is so prevalent these days. Everyone is reaching for a pill, the poor reaches out for a pill, the middle class and the rich does the same, the mainstream as well as well as minorities. We are all united by Prozac or a Prozac like pill, the young and the old alike. We've never had it so good in the history of mankind- money, opportunities and freedoms but we are still depressed. I have no answer. I just count the many Prozac pills every day and make an incredible livelihood from mental health or the lack of.
In the end, the answer lies within us, not in a bottle of pills. We have to be contented with what we have, if not, go and make some more or save some more. We are too wasteful a society. We don't have because we waste a lot. Recently we hear of stories of people who spend very little money, they get what they need by 'dumpster diving'- look in trash for usable items- furniture, small appliances and even food. Lots of supermarkets throw away perfectly good food just because they passed the expiration date stamped on them. I've witnessed dumpster diving outside a Paris supermarket. While in Rome last week, I drank only tap water but my nieces refused to do that. I had to buy bottled water for them. The water in Europe is perfectly safe to drink, even the water from the aqueducts all over the city of Rome. I filled my water bottle from these spouts. In probably won't drink the tap water in China (my next trip).
There are people whose career it is to write about saving money. There's never a time as now when we need to educate ourselves about saving money. Last Saturday night, I switched off all the lights and lit a few candles. It was a very spiritual experience. I might do this at least once a week. It was earth day and I was supposed only to use candlelight for an hour, oh, well.....
I've already switched off my sprinkler system preferring to water the lawn with a hose. I take baths using much less water. I walk a lot or take the bus when I'm not at work.
I was musing, if Brittney Spears had backpacked around Europe, subsisting on pizza, travel on a railpass, have just another change of clothes, stay in hostels, do laundry in the sink, dry wet clothes on the radiator grill, she'll be much happier. She wouldn't need those psychiatrists or a pseudo psychologist or those hangers on she calls 'manager'. Poor little rich girl.
I have only a minuscule income but I'm living large. There's a saying among us skiers, 'one bad day skiing is better than one good day working.' I'd say, 'one bad day traveling is better than one good day at home'. Well, not really. Or ' being jammed like sardines on bus #64 in Rome is better than being stuck in traffic on the 10 freeway in Los Angeles.'
It's not how much you have, it's what you do with what you have.

No comments: