What Makes Us Happy?
Measure of Obscene Wealth
Why Are So Many Wealthy Folks Supposedly Not Happy?
No, money cannot "buy" happiness, but it certainly can improve your standard of living. By that, I mean the basic survival needs, and not the very latest electronic gadget or fancy car. It has been pointed out oh, so many times, that many of the wealthy are not happy. This may be so, but it has more to do with their lifestyle choices than the fact that they have a lot of money.
In many cases, they are bored, because they are so narcissistic. They've bought themselves every conceivable toy, appliance, article of clothing, upgrade to their homes, personal trainers, and what-have-you, that they have gotten stuck in a mental rut of "What do I do now to top this?" "Where do I go from here?" They are not happy because they are missing the point.
The really unhappy wealthy folk are selfish; it does not occur to them to spread the wealth around, or if it does, they do so inappropriately, financing wasteful political campaigns, which of course, have no guarantee of putting them and their dollars on the winning side; or doling out a meager few hundred dollars of their many millions to a small charity, so they can give themselves a few temporary "feel-good" props.
They make these "donations" to make news, to appear generous, when the truth of the matter is, they do not want to part with a single precious penny. They have not learned that their wealth cannot be carried beyond the grave we all face.
Neither have they learned that, while they may well have offspring, they do not owe their children any inheritance. There is no law saying a parent's wealth must be left to the children. And so, begins another generation of spoiled rotten, bored, rich brats with no clue about working for a living, and learning to appreciate what they have earned by their own efforts.
So, these spoiled brats get involved in drugs; die from overdoses of thse street drugs, get caught with prostitutes in cars; get busted for DUI's; make headlines for record-breaking short-term marriages, and other gossip-worthy "who cares, anyway?" activities.
Hearst Castle's Pool
Why Aren't the Poor Happy?
Oftentimes, people like to claim that "there are many poor people who are very happy." I doubt very much it is a poor person saying that very often. Struggling every day for one's very survival with no means of support is not fun. It is stressful in the extreme. The next time you walk down the street and see a few homeless people, instead of pretending they are invisible, stop and ask them how happy they are. Ask them how they became homeless.
Did you know that many of the homeless are military veterans, often wounded in battle, shipped home, and discarded by the very government they swore to serve, and in whose name they were injured? Yes, folks, they all too often end up homeless on the streets, eking out a bare existence. As them if they are happy.
Ask the people out of work or in danger of losing their homes if they are happy. Ask them if money would help them to feel happier. I'm not talking about having the Midas Touch, here; I'm only referring to the ability to live a life free of worry over where the next meal is coming from; a life free of worry over the inability to provide proper food or medical care for oneself and family.
These folks are the victims of sub-standard care begrudgingly dished out by county agencies or the federal government.
Not being able to afford the more nutritious food because it costs more than the high-calorie garbage, offered by huge food conglomerates interested only in their profit margins, is another factor. Many of the poor are plagued with obesity because junk costs less than nutritional food; not because they are squandering their meager pennies by pigging out on gourmet meals! It is a shameful commentary on our society.
What Does It Take to be Happy?
How can anyone be truly happy if they don't feel well, lack energy, and have health issues that go unresolved? How can they feel happy when the cannot find a job that pays an adequate wage to support themselves and their family?
No, money might not "buy happiness" in the usually intended sense of the phrase, but it sure can ease stress, allow you to maintain physical and mental health, and in general, live a happier life free of worry over these things.
So, yes, a better standard of living, provided by--yes, money, does provide for an easier road to happiness.
This is Abject Poverty
Would I Like to be Filthy Rich?
I have no doubt in my mind that with great wealth is liable to come headaches of one sort or another. But yes, I'd love to have that kind of money.
Not so I can buy grand estates, hire personal trainers and have chauffeurs, mind you, but so that I could carry out some of the grand plans I've never been able to do.
I'd love to set up a real, working charity to care for our disabled vets and see they get the proper care they deserve.
I've always had a soft spot for animals, and I'd want to set up a true no-kill animal shelter, and provide free medical care for the pets of poor folks. Because even in times of great stress, our furry animal pals provide us with unconditional love, and a willing snuggle when we're feeling down. It is medically proven, even, that pets lower blood pressure and relieve stress. So, the poor need pets as much as or more than anyone, and should be helped to have them.
Make no mistake--I would pay off my house, and make renovations to retrofit it for our needs--but that does not mean turning it into a mansion of grand proportions! It just means doing deferred repairs. But, since I don't see a winning lotto ticket in my future, I'll just keep plugging along, doing what I do.
I don't need vast wealth to "make" me happy, but I do wish I could afford proper medical care, especially as I age. I don't think that's asking too much, and enough money to simply insure that, yes, would make me very happy indeed.
I have noticed that most of the comments seem to lean toward how "easy" it is to be happy...given a certain set of other circumstances, such as health, youth, solid support systems, or what have you.
It is also possible that my previous section, noting how happy I would be to be able to have enough money to be a philanthropist was misinterpreted by some to mean that I am an unhappy person. Not so. I am reasonably happy; I am grateful for what I do have. I also happen to think it would simply be "nice" to have enough extra to be able to share and help the less fortunate.
So, I think I perhaps did not make clear that I was focusing more on the people who are lacking all of those things. People who instead are faced with abject poverty; a life on the streets; a lack of family who cares; no friends, and whose social "benefits" are exhausted. There are also those whose "benefits" have run out, or for some bureaucratic reason or another, find themselves no longer eligible.
Sick, out of luck and money, they have been kicked to the fringes of society; stepped over in disgust by the luckier ones walking down the streets that these unfortunates must call "home."
You'd better believe that enough money to get them off the streets and able to afford health care would make them happy!
© 2012 Liz Elias