As I sit here on vacation, pondering the very title of this post, I can’t help but feel hypocritical. Spending my money on a beautiful time away from home, from the family, from work, essentially escaping life. They say you can’t put a price on a good time but let me tell you, this good time has quite the bill. Between airplane tickets and hotel reservations, this good time has monetary value. If it’s not a vacation you’re spending your money on, it’s a new gadget or gizmo, a new toy, a new car, the list is endless. We live in a world where kids need their iPad to survive boredom or the newest call of duty game for the Xbox. When I was a kid, my brothers and I played doctor to pass the time. Digging into the skin with fingernails to substitute a scalpel, pinching the skin together to substitute stitches, and tugging on the skin to substitute removal of organs for transplants (I can’t tell if that’s morbid or creative). The creative minds of children have been brainwashed into thinking they can’t have fun without some expensive gadget. How sad. Even today, 15 years later, a good time is kicking around a ball in our backyard with my brothers. Times change, people don’t (or rather, won’t).
As I meet new people throughout my life, I see things from a new perspective. Most of the time I find myself pondering their ways of living in contrast to my own. I’ve lived and grown up in the era of technological transition. From a time where cellphones didn’t exist to a time where every 8 year old has the newest iPhone available. When did we become so dependant on Google for all our answers? Where did the satisfaction and authenticity of a book go (don’t get me wrong, I’m just as guilty as the rest of us)? When did raw creativity and spontaneity disappear? When did we become so crippled by materialism?
I can’t help but think of a man I met whose entire attitude in life has shook me to my core. A humble, selfless man, with all the money in the world. Yet, his happiness doesn’t come from having the latest iPhone, the biggest house, the nicest Ferrari, the largest boat, his happiness comes from the people he takes care of. His family, his friends, the people he has taken in from the street. Not once will he take credit for the blessings he bestows on others. He doesn’t need the credit. Knowing that he has provided a stable environment for the people he cares about is enough for him to feel genuine happiness. He does not rely on material values to find contentment and bliss. Sure, if his house burned down, he could buy a new one and replace everything lost to the fire. But the sentimental value of the house, the memories made within them, the handcrafted irreplaceable memorabilia made by his kids, those with no monetary value will be the greatest loss he faces. Even then, as long as he has his family by his side, no loss is too great to shake him.
It’s inspirational really, having no need or desire to show off the money, or the acts of kindness, or the blessings. Having no desire to take credit for taking care of others. For him, money has no value because to him the only valuable thing in this world is family and love. A man with genuine heart, untainted by the sin of materialism