Are We Rich Enough?

“What, do you think we’re rich?” That was my husband’s reaction when I told him I wanted to hire a gardener to help me get the kudzu and other weedy vines under control.

“Yes,” I told him, “we are rich.” But then I laughed. The argument averted, we then talked about how rich most Americans are, relative to the majority of the world’s people.

We are not wealthy by our nation’s standards. We still work hard for a living, pay a lot of taxes and don’t have enough to retire on. We must prioritize and decide if we want to hire a lawn guy once a month or buy cable TV. We drive used cars.

Compared to some kids in Kenya, we live in the lap of luxury. We have a solid house, clean water, three meals a day, air conditioning and personal safety.

We live richly. We see the doctor if we need to; we take vacations; we eat steak; we buy flowers for our yard and curtains for our windows.

I think maybe once basic needs are met, wealth is a state of mind more than a state of the bank account. Americans’ state of mind is controlled in large part by advertising media trying to sell us something we don’t have. If we listen to them, we’ll never be satisfied!

When my mind is clear of all the ad-generated covetousness, I realize what a good life we live. We have sumptuous food (enough to make us chubby), a gym membership (to keep our chubbiness under control), electronic gizmos (enough to make your head spin), a winter vacation scheduled (in a warm place) and a spoiled cat (who will vacation in a kennel). We are indeed rich!

Having never hired a gardener, to us it seems like something only rich people do. But then, I reason, we have paid someone to cut the lawn on occasion, or help take out a dead tree.

Rich is relative. We’re still deciding if we’re rich enough for a weed guy.


About janets123

Children's writer, newspaper columnist, essayist, poet, storyteller
This entry was posted in Short Takes on Life and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Are We Rich Enough?

  1. As you say it is a matter of priority. from where we sit, emphasis on retirement has been a life saver.

  2. janets123 says:

    Carole, I think I didn’t make my point very well. “When my mind is clear of all the ad-generated covetousness, I realize what a good life we live.” When we need only one bowl of rice but we have two, we are rich, even if we don’t have butter. I’m just contemplating all the *things* I have that are superfluous to necessity. It makes me feel so very blessed and eager to share my second bowl.

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