I consider myself to be wealthy. Not rich, wealthy. Rich is about money. Wealth is more encompassing.
I'm lucky enough to have a had a good education, followed by a varied career which has allowed me insight and where my efforts have been rewarded. I've also managed to maintain a strong partnership which has allowed me all the benefits of a close knit, healthy family.
I've paid attention to my weight, I've exercised diligently and I've tried to maintain a good life work balance. It has not always been easy, but certainly worthwhile.
So as I now rapidly approach retirement I'm pretty much set up. We own our own house; we have no debt; we have savings and pensions. But more importantly; we are part of a community; we have a variety of friends; and an extended family; a variety of interests and hobbies and we have our health.
I think we have way too much focus within our society on money. Not as a means to an end but just as the main part in the creation and support of this illusion that having a lot of money is the utopia.
And this is just such abject nonsense. So much money, that is floating around and within our society does nothing more than sit in large piles, slowly becoming bigger piles. It is all quite pathetic that so many of those that are idolised because they are rich, are little more than Smaug. They don't really know what to with it so they sit amongst a large pile of useless baubles cut off from the rest of the world.
It does seem that, in the same way that 'power corrupts, total power corrupts totally', 'money obscures life, lots of money puts life in a dark room, locks the door and swallows the key'.
Of course a good income enables. It allows opportunity. It reduces stress. And there is nothing wrong at all in wanting to earn more, but .. and this is a non negotiable caveat... only if it is in the pursuit of wealth not just to be rich.
If you can, think of the few times when you have been deliriously happy. Not just happy or satisfied, but side splitting laughing, or bursting with pride to the point that you can't speak. I am quite certain in that almost all of those instances amongst normal people, anywhere in the world, it will have had nothing to do with spending a lot of money. It will have been about being with friends and family and sharing experiences together.
So why when we all know where the happiness and contentment is to be had, are so many pursuing the cumulation of more and more stuff (money) as their life's goal?
My answer? Because we are allowing the media, driven by business, to give the guidance on what is the meaning of success, rather than discussing it in a meaningful and realistic fashion. This is not what we should be wanting for our children, quite the opposite.
In the words of a sadly departed Northern comedian, 'When you go to count a man's success, don't count money, count happiness'.