‘Wealth is the ability to fully experience life’ – Henry David Thoreau
Hippies and Buddhists aside, just about everyone wants to be ‘rich’. This usually conjures an image of a glamorous lifestyle of casinos, condos, convertibles and leerjets. Film and television project this fantasy into living rooms around the world, usually in the form of a SoCal/Hollywood posing. I’ve known Americans who claim they’re from ‘California’ when abroad, gently easing themselves out of any U.S foreign policy associations and into the cliched sunny California that everyone dreams about.
Most people will never come close to this lifestyle, and ironically, its active pursuit is likely to involve its ugly twin – what MJ DeMarco calls lifestyle servitude, or the infamous ’30k millionaire’ phenomenon.
I’m with Thoreau on what it actually means to be wealthy. The trappings of wealth cannot alone make you wealthy. This is especially true if you are spending money to impress others, (which it won’t, nor will it make you happier), or if you are mortgaging your life to be able to afford these frivolities.
‘The freedom to fully experience life’ means that you get to choose the activities that will fulfill you. Money is but one ingredient. The others – health, relationships and time are all just as crucial, and their different weightings will vary depending on your preferences.