Wednesday, December 13, 2017

That Feeling of Being Rich

Carolyn J. Rose 

 For me, feeling rich has very little to do with the possessions I own, or the amount of money I have in the bank. And that’s a good thing, because I don’t own much, and I never made much to deposit. Money wasn’t a huge driving force in my life. Craving cash didn’t motivate me to pursue a sales-oriented career or strive to climb a corporate ladder. My financial goal was to make enough for food, shelter, transportation, and recreation.       Reaching that goal depended on how I defined those terms.

FOOD: I’m not a foodie and I don’t get much pleasure from cooking. I’m all for eating out, but cost plays a role in my enjoyment. My taste buds are happy with pasta, salad, an occasional dessert, and a bag of cheesy snacks now and then.

SHELTER: If my house has a roof that doesn’t leak, a decent heating and cooling system, and room for me to sleep, shower, relax, and set up my computer, that’s enough. I don’t need a mansion. I want a shelter, not a showplace.

TRANSPORTATION: It’s sweet to be able to afford a new car, but I shop for practical ahead of luxury. I go for a good deal over a bunch of buttons and gadgets.

RECREATION: Except for a brief time in my teens, I never dreamed of cruising around the world on a private yacht, gambling away thousands in Monte Carlo, or climbing Mt. Everest. I enjoyed hiking and camping and canoeing in my younger years, but now it’s all about movies, trips to the coast, Scrabble with friends, and water aerobics.

While it’s reassuring to check my bank balance and find I’m not in the red, the bottom line has little to do with feeling rich. That feeling depends far more on other factors.

HEALTH: I’m still standing. Better yet, I’m still standing on my own. At the age of 70, that makes me feel like I just found a handful of change under the sofa cushions.

ATTITUDE: Lately, given the political climate, I’ve been looking for—and leaning toward—the positive. I’ve tried not only to keep my sense of humor, but to use it to make others smile and even laugh. If I can lighten their moods, I feel I’ve contributed something of value.

FRIENDS: I don’t have a vast number of friends, but the ones I have are prime. They’re accepting, amusing, and not easily offended by remarks I might blurt out without thinking. We take each other as we come, and as we are.

PETS: The dogs, cats, and birds I’ve lived with haven’t all been perfect roommates. But they’ve all left me with lessons about love, loyalty, and letting go.

BOOKS: I’ve been privileged to have had the time, energy, and imagination to write 20 books. More importantly, I’ve been privileged to read thousands. Some I bought, but most I borrowed. I love bookstores, and I love libraries. 

Checking out an armload of books from the beautiful library in downtown Vancouver gives me a sense of wealth far more powerful than receiving a dividend check from an investment fund.