I caught this 2-minute video essay by Ben Stein on CBS Sunday Morning this past weekend. I watched it and his words made an impression on me. He defines what “real wealth” means to him. For the most part, society places pressure on the acquiring of things. Bigger homes, fancier cars, and the ability to afford the latest trends are perceived as wealth, but I’ve always questioned this premise.
My childhood lacked many of these things. We did not live in a big home nor did I own a vehicle that had a recognizable emblem. The car I drove was used and often broke down at inopportune times. My family traveled some, but we did not take lavish vacations at 5-star resorts. Although my father worked hard, he struggled in carrying out his version of the American dream.
Having less or not having every little “thing” is something I learned early in my life. It is because of this background, I am unimpressed with the acquiring of things. I let go of that belief a long time ago. Real wealth is defined by something much more than the latest, greatest, and best material things. It does not mean that I am not prone to purchasing an item that is seen as nice, but I don’t view it as an extension or definition of myself.
What is real wealth?
Real wealth is having a happy childhood filled with laughter, family dinners, and traditions.
Real wealth is the ability to run at anytime without thinking about it. If you are healthy and your body can move, that is ultimate real wealth.
Real wealth is being loved and loving someone.
Real wealth is having choices.
Real wealth is the ability to get an education without the threat of violence.
Real wealth is voting in an election that isn’t fixed by the government.
Real wealth is a cup of coffee in the morning.
Real wealth is having a homemade meal from your Mom.
Real wealth is reminiscing with good friends about the past and looking forward to future.
Real wealth is writing, reading, and having the ability to think.
How do you define real wealth?
Excellent reminders. Wealth, to me?
Family, health, friendship, books to read – and maybe, a good wifi connection!
I totally agree, Rudri. I also measure wealth in non-material terms — abundance in love, good health, choices, peace…the things that truly fill me and make me feel full and whole. I wonder if it is because I always felt loved growing up, despite how little my family had in the way of money and material things; I wonder how often people pursue material wealth in order to fill a void. I was visiting a friend a few years ago, and I remember being very surprised by one of the first things her husband said to me when he saw me (he was walking on Wall Street at the time): “Did you see how many toys the kids have? Just the Thomas train DVDs alone??” My friend, too, had always seemed very proud of the fact that she has four children and talked about it often. It seemed to me that quantity was very important.
sorry, I meant “working on Wall Street,” not “walking” on Wall Street 😉
We are very wealthy indeed. Thanks for the reminder.
Beautiful! So true, real wealth has nothing to do with material items.
Great reminders…..wealth to me is my family being healthy and safe…love..friendship….and knowing that I made a difference is someone’s life.