True Measure of Wealth

We’re reading the New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream by Courtney E. Martin in one of the women’s church groups at church. It’s a very post mod, almost self-help bloguesque book on new fundamentals to the American Dream. Martin presents very new-fashioned ideas of what a career is (ie multiple freelance jobs) and inventive notion that work must be fulfilling even if the pay grade is not. I despise the book.

But, some of the discussions from this book are worthwhile. For instance, in the chapter titled “The Wisdom of Enough,” really had me thinking about what monetary gains would I deem enough. Does enough mean basic necessities, all the bills, an emergency fund, and long term dividend earning savings account? Maybe add a little bit of retail therapy money and I think that’s enough.

But what are the basic necessities? A gentleman once admitted that his grandmother would say that the true measure of wealth was affording a bottle of lotion for every hand soap in the home. Lotion doesn’t run cheap. But what about functional wealth?

At one point in my life I owned so many shoes that I only wore two pairs consistently and stored the rest underneath my bed. The two I did wear were walking shoes and work shoes. Walking shoes to get to and from class. Work shoes explanation necessary. But I would never want to part with my shoes. They were mine, and they were pretty. I did eventually. And now, I really only use five pairs, work, walking, indoor, to impress, and the everyday errands shoes. These shoes have a value, and they are enough.

But shoes are hardly the true measure of wealth. The true measure of wealth is finding value in myself, the people around me, and the space around us. Finding intrinsic value is what drives and motivates us to be who we are. Finding value in the people around, nurturing and loving. And having both will just make the space around grow. The true measure of wealth is in these three things. And in that regard, I truly am blessed.


Popular Posts