In a world where a great percentage live in excess and a startlingly high percentage live in poverty, it makes you question the power of money.
Yes money does help make the world go around, there are other factors to include but I think the most important is what those with money do with it.
I live in a very privileged situation where I don’t have to worry about whether I’m going to have food on the table that day, or if I’ll have a warm bed to sleep in at night. I am fortunate enough to be able to ‘suffer’ from first world problems, but I know there is so many that don’t get the same opportunities.
My partner’s grandma (may she rest in peace) once said ‘we live in a world where it’s seen as acceptable to just throw things away and get a new one’ sometimes it’s because it is cheaper, most of the time because it’s more convenient and we’re so busy being busy we don’t make the time to try and fix something before we loose complete hope. Grandma Rita said she lived in a generation where it was fix it or go without so it meant simple things like washing baskets and clothes were used and repaired till the whole thing was basically a frankenversion of itself.
I will put my hand up and say I’m a big contributor to the wasteful generation. Up until recently I believed lint rollers were only for one use, it wasn’t until my partner witnessed me throw one away that he asked me why I was doing that. I simply told him that it was no longer able to collect lint so there was no point keeping it, I had been buying these lint rollers by the bulk in my Uni days and had spent an awful lot for what I believed was minimum use. He then showed me that these lint rollers actually had multiple layers and that I had only been using the first layers. I shuddered to think about all those other poor barely used lint rollers now cluttering the worlds dump sites all because I hadn’t questioned price over use, at least now I know!
But this isn’t what this blog post is about; I want to go into the topic of excess further, but not right now. I want to talk about something that inspired me recently, and it all started from one innocent conversation.
So maybe we should all talk more, even if it’s about something pointless, because conversations are where bright ideas and discoveries come from, and if you sat down to talk to someone for 5 minutes today, you just don’t know what you could find.
Over the holidays I went back home to be with my family. One evening we were all sat at the table talking about life, well life and the lottery! The lottery had rolled over about 3 times at this point and despite not being a gambling family, we all thought we would sus our luck and just give it a go, the chances of us winning were very slim but still, we just wanted to be in on the fun! Imagine what you could do with £39 million? A lot! My Dad would be able to retire, my mom could get her parents the medical help they so badly needed, my older sister could finally get the house she had been dreaming of and my younger sister could finally get a car that didn’t break down over and over again, and for me? Well I could finally do my two of my greatest dreams, bring some of my family members from the Philippines here so that we could finally reunite after over a decade of being apart, and my second dream would be to move back to Devon so that I could leave my lonely existence here in London, the only purpose of me being here was to save and earn enough money to be able to help my family have a comfortable life, but also so that I could have a chance at living comfortably in Devon where opportunities are scarce compared to London, the supposed City of ‘dreams’.
Our conversation progressed to wealthy people who were tight with money. My Dad said they were wealthy because they were careful with money, by careful he obviously meant mean/tight with it. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I didn’t really agree with it either. I think if you had money, you should of course be careful with it, but you should also enjoy it, I don’t mean be frivolously, but you know, you earned/have a right to that money, what’s the use of being afraid of it? My older sister, Mhissy, said something that resonated with me.
“I don’t understand rich people who are stingy with money. I like to have money so that I can spend it on other people, to be able to have fun withy other people, not just by myself”
A simple statement like that got me thinking. This blog post could go in any direction, but those topics will be covered at some point I know, I like to talk a lot can’t you tell? The direction I’m going down is this, are poor people technically more satisfied?
You see all these movies and read these stories about a poor little rich person being miserable in their life, you also see the stark contrast to a happy less advantaged person who is just content, it’s a common thing to see and yet no one really questions it. Now I’m not saying that poorer people don’t have difficulties thus creating a sad and stressed environment for them, nor am I saying that rich people can’t be happy with money worries not being an issue. What I am saying is, do poor people have lower expectations, bigger dreams and more motivation and can this lead them to achieve satisfaction a lot faster than someone who has everything and therefore is harder to please?
This isn’t a question about who has the better life, by society standards it would probably be the richer guy, but in terms of complete pure happiness, and satisfaction, I would give it to the poorer person.
I have no scientific, data analysed proof. But I have witnessed both sides of the world, the luxury, excess, wealth, and also witnessed poverty, hunger, and the real struggles of everyday life.
I’ve always lived in the happy middle, but I’ve seen it. Sometimes I’ve lived it, in some parts of my lifetime. I don’t know everything but I do know this.
My family in the Philippines have never been well off, they’ve always struggled and as hard as my parents work, it’s never been enough to be able to give them certain luxuries that as a kid growing up in the UK, I was granted. I feel sick at the thought that I had cried that my parents didn’t get me a laptop at the age of 14 when I asked for it for Christmas, how spoiled was I being? My cousin who was top in his class, a straight a student, didn’t his first laptop until he was 18 and it was a second hand one I had given him. The difference between he and I (aside from the age of when we each got our first laptop? He wanted to use this laptop to be able to study and complete assignments at home, instead of spending all night at high school trying to complete his work and then making the long and dangerous commute back home late at night. Without having access to a simple thing like a laptop, to be able to type up assignments, in the standard his high school was setting, his grades had dropped and we feared he wouldn’t be able to reach his true potential. We he received my old laptop; he was just so grateful, so appreciative and treated it like it was brand new. The kind of feeling you get when you see that kind of reaction makes you just want to question your entire life. That laptop was something I was going to throw away, you know why? Because the 3 button had fallen off, and it was old and slow. I hated how materialistic I had become when my own flesh and blood would have done anything for it. I’m glad it went to a good home.
Another scenario is this, I’ve seen many occasions where there was a reason to celebrate and my family who had very little money put their resources together to create the best party they could, and I will tell you, those parties were the ones where we had the most fun. Even if it was putting together every penny to make sure we had ingredients to make a few dishes for everyone to share, like spaghetti and also to make sure we had a few bottles of coke, it’s hardly caviar and champagne, but that’s not what the celebration was about. It was about spending time together as a family. If you’re close to those around you, and you enjoy their company it’s less about the frills, glitz and glamour. It didn’t matter whether we were eating rice and bagoong, or steak! What mattered was we were appreciating each other. I guess that’s something that happens when you have very little but have a lot of love to give, the material goods become irrelevant.
Again there’s nothing wrong with all the fancy stuff, but you just need to make sure you’re sharing it. Why? Because it’d be boring to share a chiffon cake all by yourself right? It’d be boring to go on that 5 star (does it go higher than that?) holiday on your own…canoe for 1 please! It’d be lonely to live in that big house by yourself, why do you need all those rooms? No ones coming to visit! Everyone is going back to be with their family. At the end of the party no one is sticking around to help clean up.
You can work hard and earn your money or you can be lucky enough to have it placed upon you but it doesn’t change how you should be spending it, I know for me I would rather be normal and living in the middle, occasionally saving enough money to treat my friends and family to something a little fancy, than to have all the fancy things in the world alone.
So when you win the lottery, or when you get that promotion to your £100k a year job, don’t forget the little people, the ones you loved to spend time with, the ones who loved to spend time with you when you weren’t the rich guy you are now.
But most importantly,
Do something to make your parents proud today, your kids proud someday, and you proud everyday!
Peace and Love,