The important things in life – you can’t buy em! Family and friends.
You can use money as a conduit for activities to create memories, but excessive working with a goal for “more money” is a waste. Trying to buy the newest, latest, greatest, is fruitless.
I love living in America. I would die for this country. In fact, I volunteered to die for this country as a member of the United States Navy. 2010. VAQ 209. Bagram. I did not get to deploy due to capacity but I did volunteer my name on this list and supported our detachment.
As much as I love our country, there are things that we do that are lopsided. A major imbalance: our country’s need to keep up with everyone else no matter the cost.
Why are we this way?
I have been guilty of this and if I am really honest with myself, I still have moments of weakness. My big truth came a few years ago as a younger, single mom in corporate America. Many of my peers were in their late 30s, early 40s and their vacations were AH-MAZING! Paris. The Galapagos. South Africa. Madrid. They came back with the most beautiful pictures and memorable stories. I needed that. So I booked a trip to Disneyworld.
Not being financially savvy, I took out a payday loan to fund a portion of the trip. I paid it off quickly, but I hate to admit, I did it again, and again. I felt so pressured to have an out of this world vacation story that I got out of my lane.
I was in my late 20s, not married, had 2 children and crazy student loan debt. My financial portfolio and life responsibilities did not look like my peers and therefore my experiences should not have. But I had it in my head that I needed to be doing what they were doing, even if it meant going into debt.
Did the trip make me happy? Absolutely! But I could have made a decision more fitting to my lane and still would have found happiness.
Advertisers are great at making us feel like we should have better. The girl with dry frizzy hair is lonely but as soon as she uses the specially formulated shampoo and conditioner she has men AND women captivated by her luscious locks. The kids mope inside until they get this new toy that magically brightens their day.
New advertisers have become wise though. FOMO or Fear of Missing Out is a tactic used by many advertisers today. FOMO advertisements hone in on our deepest desires, leveraging words and image sequences that evoke a feeling of anxiety inside that make you say, “I can’t miss that” or “I have to have that.” It is that anxiety that pushes you to take immediate action so you don’t miss out. FOMO plays on two of our most basic human emotions: fear and acceptance.
We run into a problem with this behavior of purchase and excess - we were not created to find happiness in “stuff.” Unfortunately, the more we push ourselves to find happiness in “stuff,” the sadder we become. And for the life of us, we never seem to figure it out until we have put ourselves on an emotional roller coaster.
Happiness does not come from buying more. Happiness comes from deep, meaningful relationships. It comes from spending quality time with friends and family. It comes from sharing laughter and tears as we move through life together.
A house may be filled with things, but if it is not filled with love it is empty. It is desolate. Focus more on your who and less on your what.
Who are you building a relationship with? Who are you supporting? Who are you encouraging? Who are you loving? Who are you building up? Who are you leaning on? Who are you crying with? Who are you experiencing life with?
Cherish the important things. Don’t get caught trying to keep up with the Jones’ - they buy their happiness when happiness is free.