Re: Money CAN buy Happiness
Originally Posted by Bruce
...imagine a "satisfaction ladder" in which the top step represents a respondent's best possible life. Those being polled are then asked where on the ladder they stand (from zero to a maximum of 10), and how much they earn... One never really grows tired of earning more. Is this true in your life?
'One never really grows tired of earning more' is not something I can relate to. My life experience is primarily of financial struggle. If money were not an issue, my life would be very different. I learned early on to be happy by not measuring my happiness by material things, but by the quality of my experiences. However, I also learned in recent years that money provides what we need to expand life experience.
As one example, I live in a small town in a beautiful area of my state. I make the most of it, going for walks in places that give me joy, walking the beach as often as I want, enjoying when the air smells wonderful, sometimes even just let the rain fall on my face, take a picnic to a park, and so on. I will pour a glass of wine from a $12 bottle that I got for $6 on sale, and sip it while watching a sunset from my window. I very much live in the moment, and also believe in savoring the very little things of life. This is how I've always lived, and I'm appreciative of it all.
Then in 2010, at age 53, I had my first ever ride on an airplane. The trip was 3/4 of the way across the country and it was due in large part to a boyfriend's free air miles and his father's help with a rental car. I couldn't stop looking out the window, having finally experienced the dream of flying. The world looked completely different from up there. I was hooked on flying. This was not a vacation, the trip was very hurried, as I accompanied my boyfriend to his family gathering, but I was thrilled to see, however briefly, a big city outside my own state.
Then in 2012 my boyfriend's free air miles needed to be used up, his father offered help with a rental car again, and a friend offered us their vacation condo for an entire week, in a beautiful natural area on the east coast. This was about to be my first ever real vacation! Again, I looked out the window the entire trip, day and night, and when I arrived at the condo I literally ran down the path from the back door, to the beach, and straight into the WARM surf. All I could do was laugh and jump for joy. This set the tone for nearly the whole stay, at the end of which we drove north through an amazing area.
We lived very, very frugally while we were there, but I still dream of that 10-day trip on a daily basis. The place. The joy of experiencing new sights, sounds, textures, scents, tastes. The joy.
A co-worker said that at work I seemed to be walking on air for the next 6 months.
That was a one-in-a-lifetime experience for me. I finally understood what it was like to go on vacation, as well as to experience new things away from home. I came back to work and have worked straight through ever since, watching the people who make more money than I, come and go on 1-2 week vacations out of the state, even out of the country, 2-3 times a year each. While I just get more and more tired and my budget just gets tighter and tighter as my cost of living raises don't match the rising cost of living. My friends at work go out to lunch to their favorite places together, and they just quietly disappear so I won't be embarrassed or maybe not notice--they know I live alone and can't afford lunch out, so I go into a conference room and eat an apple, d crackers & cheese, or something equally inexpensive, then back to work. Every so often I'd love to 'break up' my work day by de-stressing: laughing and enjoying my friends in a nice little restaurant by the ocean, but it's not an option.
And it's not just about me. I am always seeing things I'd love to purchase for a loved one, to brighten their day, but I can't. I see places I'd like to send my nephews and their wives, or things I'd like to help them with. I think of my disabled and destitute brother, whose life I'd like to enhance if only I could. But I can't because it's everything I can do, just to pay my basic bills every month and keep a (rented) roof over my head and keep my independence.
I will never be financially secure enough to retire, and will have to work until I physically cannot do so any longer, and then will have to be 'put' somewhere, if the government can help me. All of this despite having worked full time my entire adult life.
Worrying about myself and people I love, and their quality of life, or lack of it, is very stressful. I don't sleep well and I have little energy from working 8-5 in a hectic job five days a week at nearly 58 years of age, to keep things in my personal life in more order.
The original question was whether one never grows tired of earning more. I would love a raise. If ever I could make enough money to truly afford a higher quality of life, and for the people I care about, I would do it in a heartbeat, over and over.
Ironically, the people I know who are well off and have no financial worries, are the only people who tell me that money can't buy happiness.