Feeling Poor?: Things I Forget About that Don't Cost a Thing
Here in America, we're rich. Sometimes, I hear that and file it in the same place that I filed the eat-your-dinner-there-are-starving-people-in-China lines from my childhood (I learned, early on, to smile and say, "Great...can we send them this?"). But it's true. We have the dubitable priviledge of managing our money, simply because we have more than it costs to buy our basic food and clothing. In our everyday lives, we have so much that we forget about. Here are a few of the hardest ones for me to remember.
1. I have space. Some have more than others and many have more than me, but I have space and I like that. I get to control what goes in and out of it, and what it looks like.
2. I have the leisure to pursue the things I like. I only work 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, and the rest of the time is mine. Right now, I'm training for a sprint triathlon and taking an art class, and I'm thankful for the time to do that.
3. I'm paid a fair wage. So many people aren't (scroll down to Table 1). I happen to work for a nonprofit that can't pay top dollar, but I'm compensated fairly. I don't have to work 6-day weeks to make it work.
4. I am respected for doing my work and doing it well. I don't have to deal with being underappreciated, forgotten, or treated poorly. People care about what I do, but they also care about me as the one doing it.
5. I have choices. While everyone's choices matter, more wealth equals more choices. And more choices often mean more empowerment and greater general satisfaction with life (when they don't mean more distraction and more frittering time away and more indulgence). For me, they're usually good, and I'm glad I have them.
6. I have easy access to good medicine. As someone who grew up getting sick a lot, this one is important to me. If I'd grown up in a 3rd world country, there are illnesses I very well might not have made it through.
What are the hardest "item of wealth" for you to remember?