More Will Not Always Make You Happier
My husband and I were having a casual dinner with my parents, and, strictly out of curiosity, I asked them, “If you had infinite income, more money than you could spend in a lifetime, what would you do with it?”
My parents blink.
My mom then says that she’d help rebuild what the hurricanes destroyed in New Orleans and Puerto Rico.
My dad then tells us that he’d want to end child hunger.
I’ve heard that question asked at several different dinner parties, casual happy hours, and general chit-chat amongst colleagues and friends. I’ve heard answers ranging from having a personal chef and masseuse every day to acquiring more real estate and fancy cars to having a private plane to call your own. I’ve heard people talk about starting new businesses, building new projects, and acquiring many things that they can hold with both hands.
And then there are my parents, whose first instinct is to pour into others rather than themselves — an answer that inspires me yet doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.
My mom says, “we have everything that they could ever need; why would we need to hoard more?”
“Everything you ever need?” I ask.
“Of course,” she says.
She then goes on to launch into a monologue about how they’re lucky to be healthy. They’re fortunate that their children are healthy and happy. They had careers that they loved, and in retirement, they have found new ones. They still love one another after forty years of marriage — and they still like one another, too. My mom continues to speak about how they have a home that they love, food in their fridge, and a nest egg for a rainy day.
These are words that I have heard before, and yet as I get older, they mean more. They hit a little differently, too.
It’s essential to be grateful for what you have, right here and now. For if you cannot find pleasure and satisfaction at this moment, what makes you think that you’ll be happier with more?
More isn’t always the solution to your problems.
More isn’t always the answer to your questions.
More will not give you a sense of gratitude for all that you have and where you come from — it will not make the map to where you’re going any more clear, either.
It’s easy to want more. To fill your closets and your bank accounts and your life with more stuff — but then what happens? Then what do you do? Then where do you go?
Acquiring more things is not an impossible feat in this life — but what would happen if you used the stuff you have and the means that you have, and the heart you have to help? To give? To share from the blessings you have — for when you think about it, there’s no price to be put on what you truly hold dear?
If you had infinite income, more money than you could spend in a lifetime, what would you do with it?