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(Understand that this little rant is pretty much directed at myself, to remind myself of what matters. If it resonates with you as well, cool.)

This question came to me when I was cranking out my morning pages.

Do you want to be a rich person, or do you want to live a rich life?

The immediate answer is, of course, “both!” And who doesn’t want that? But there seems to be this peculiar notion that runs through the thread of our society that these conditions have to be consecutive. First you become a rich person and then you will be able to live a rich life. Until you reach that point, you are condemned to bow and scrape in misery until you’ve accumulated enough money in the bank to walk away from The Dreaded Job (whether as a magic millionaire or at the very least as a retiree.)

The problem with becoming a rich person first is that’s it’s conditional. How rich is rich? How much money in the bank, how many assets earning value, how much stuff do you need to be considered rich? At what point do you decide that you have enough that you can relax and start living a rich life?

What if you just started now? Right now? Not just When Everything Is In Place, or When I Have What I Want, but right in this moment?

Because the beauty of living a rich life is that it can be done at any time, in any set of circumstances.

Living a rich life is embracing the moment as it stands and not resenting it for being anything other that what it is.

Living a rich life is, at the same time, striving to improve things as you are able, using what is within your grasp.

Living a rich life is expanding your sense of self, learning new things, visiting new places, savoring each new experience and constantly showing appreciation for the blessings you already have.

Living a rich life is laughing your ass off and crying your guts out.

Living a rich life is saying hello to your own fears, and then walking past them to get where you need to go.

Living a rich life is letting go of grudges and finding better things to do with your time than mentally rehearsing clever retorts to say to the big meanies you argued with (who probably wouldn’t be impressed anyway.)

Living a rich life is indulging in the kinds of pleasures that don’t leave you feeling headachy and hollowed-out afterwards.

Living a rich life is enjoying the process instead of holding your breath until the result arrives.

Living a rich life is seeing the beauty in a rainy day as easily as a sunny one.

Living a rich life is feeling what you feel all the way through and not trying to hide from any of it--every drop of joy and every ounce of pain.

Living a rich life is marveling at the play of sunlight on leaves, tasting a strawberry with full awareness, walking down a street you’ve never been down before just to see where it goes.

Living a rich life can happen the very moment you open your eyes, look around and think Hey, wow, I’m alive.

Money in the bank? Hey, I’m not knocking it. But the beauty of it is you can do whatever scrimping, saving, working, selling or interest compounding you need to do, and still live a rich life in the meantime. And if you don’t quite make it to rich person status? You’ll still have a rich life to show for it.

Today I took pleasure in getting this rant out of my head.

Today I learned that the Russet Noon saga is not yet over.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
freecloud13
Apr. 16th, 2009 05:05 pm (UTC)
Good post!

On a similar theme, I feel sorry for the people who feel the need to buy things in order to feel rich. Or turn it the other way around - the people who feel frustrated and inferior (and full of anger and bitterness) because they don't have the latest gadgets/designer clothes and all that.

To me living a rich life is learning new things, knowledge, kindness, honesty... these kind of things.
wonderbink
Apr. 16th, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC)
On a similar theme, I feel sorry for the people who feel the need to buy things in order to feel rich. Or turn it the other way around - the people who feel frustrated and inferior (and full of anger and bitterness) because they don't have the latest gadgets/designer clothes and all that.

I feel sorry for them too, because they're making themselves unhappy and a simple shift in focus would allow them to enjoy life much more.
crevette
Apr. 16th, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
What an incredibly well thought out and touching... wait... wait.. wait RUSSET NOON PART III?... OMG!

(which is literally what I was thinking as I read down and then clicked the link and then clicked back to respond before I go back and bathe in the wank-stream of CRAZY)

Edited at 2009-04-16 06:03 pm (UTC)
wonderbink
Apr. 16th, 2009 06:34 pm (UTC)
Glad to be of service. :)
(Deleted comment)
wonderbink
Apr. 17th, 2009 03:44 am (UTC)
Somehow I knew you'd get it. :)
puppetmaker40
Apr. 18th, 2009 11:51 am (UTC)
A-men sister. Sing it.

You are so right. I may not be rich but I do have a rich life with all kinds of twists and turns that I never expected.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )