How Wealthy Are You Beyond Your Bank Account?
On my previous article about working to death I found a pretty long comment by a woman named "Jen" who has a husband that works seven days a week to provide for his family. This long and detailed rant sparked several responses saying that Jen is ungrateful for what she has. The comments pointed out many of the non-financial riches Jen has that others would love to obtain. This exchange really made me reflect on how non-monetary things make us rich.
First of all, I think anyone who has a loving family is already quite rich. In the case of commenter Jen, she has two children and an extremely devoted husband and she seems to love them quite a bit. Not everyone is so lucky to be able to find a loving mate, or even have any children. I am grateful to have a family every single day even though we have our own problems and conflicts. No family is perfect, but having a family at all is a great blessing.
Second, as some commenters said, Jen is incredibly lucky to be an American and live in America. When I moved to Hawaii from China I thought that America is incredibly clean and beautiful. When I was in my senior year of high school I realized that because I was a Chinese citizen I had a lot fewer chances for scholarships and even job opportunities. Because of this I remember being jealous of my classmates for the simple fact that they were born in America. Honestly at that time it really pissed me off that so many Americans did not take advantage of the opportunities they had. So I think anyone who is born in a country where they can freely pursue so many choices is ridiculously rich just because they were lucky in birth.
Finally, I think having a healthy body and mind makes a person wealthy. One obvious reason is that health care is quite expensive, and another reason is that as long as you are sound in body and mind you can do something productive and generate money. Unfortunately I think Jen's husband is suffering in his physical and mental health because of overwork. I agree with Jen that her husband needs to stop this destruction of his being because in the long run he may not be able to work as much and may need medical attention. Personally, I would rather go into debt than slowly wither away in physical and mental health.
For some reason I find that it is much easier for me to complain about what I do not have and it is much harder to be grateful for what I do have. I suppose it is is human nature to always want more. Wealth actually comes from the word "weal", which means well-being, so I think ultimately it is not our bank accounts that make us wealthy, but our own personal sense of well-being. If you ask yourself what non-financial aspects of your life makes you happy, then you may find that you are more wealthy than you think.