I was raised in a very wealthy community, Darien, Connecticut, during my Jr. High and High School years. There was a LOT of money around. One thing I noticed as I was growing up was having that money gave no immunity to family problems. Yesterday I mentioned that having great wealth can exacerbate problems and having been in that world for a while is how I know it’s true.
After those teenage years my family’s financial situation balanced out to a much more average middle class existence. I went off to college and was pretty much on my own. All the usual things a college age kid goes through, crappy apartments, ramen noodles, part time or full time jobs doing dishes or bussing tables, I did them. On top of that I got my degrees in Art, simply the BIGGEST money making degree one can get, right? uh huh.
Lowered Expectations, Higher Satisfactions
The result was getting married and raising a family with no where near the money my parents had. Luckily I didn’t obsess about wealth or having a lot of money. But I did have to learn that with my limited income and a growing family I had to be much more frugal with our resources than I initially thought. I learned a number of great lessons from having to make that adjustment.
- Doing things your self instead of hiring someone else to do it is satisfying.
- Giving away a portion of what you make (even when it’s not a lot) to causes and people you believe in and who need help is satisfying.
- Living life simply without garish and ostentatious displays of wealth and ego is satisfying.
- Knowing my family and I can make do no matter what is satisfying.
The Lake of Satisfaction
The truth is you don’t drown in money when you have a lot of it. You drown in alcohol or boredom or stress or greed or ego or promiscuity or any number of other things. And how that happens usually revolves around a desperation to keep ahold of ALL the money. That leads to an intense level of dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
If you can open the gates of the dam and let go of that money that is overflowing (and more is overflowing than you probably realize) you will be better able to enjoy the lake of Satisfaction instead of drowning in it.
Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman
Quote by Muhammed Ibn Zafar Al – Siqilli, 1104 – 1172, Italian Political Theorist
“Wealth is like water. They who do not open a dam to carry off its overflow drown in it.”