This I Believe

Lauren - Franklin, Maine
Entered on January 18, 2008

This I believe…

I believe there is more to life than financial success. Are you ever driving down the road or lying in bed at night and pondering the meaning to your life? Do money, cars, and real estate bring you the greatest pleasure, or are you happiest when you are surrounded by family or friends just having a genuinely good time? I often wonder if I’m wasting my time by working six days a week in the summer when I could be spending time with my friends or family. Sometimes, I think people get too caught up in material things, myself included. It seems that I can never buy enough – clothes or shoes or purses. I can’t keep up with the trends. When I’m driving home from the mall I realize that what I just purchased not only cost me two weeks worth of work, it only provided me a temporary form of happiness that will wear off shortly. I could have spent these past three hours with my grandparents and enjoyed my time and gained a more permanent bliss.

This past summer I decided that I wanted a new car. I was going to work close to sixty hours a week so by the end of August, I would have enough money for a big down payment. By the middle of July, I began wondering if it was worth it. I watched my friends go swimming and fishing and I grew jealous of their summer fun. I was angry that I wasn’t having any fun and yet I still wouldn’t take a day off. On August 14th, just as I had hoped, I drove my brand new Chevy Cobalt off the lot. I could hardly contain my excitement, but that wore off. Though I’m glad I have a dependable car, what I don’t have is any memory of having fun that summer. My new car, I’m sure, will eventually break down. My friends, on the other hand, will have exciting memories they can always look back on.

A close friend of my mother moved here from Brazil about 10 years ago. He explained to my mom that before he moved to America, he was content with his good health and now the only thing that consumes him is his financial situation. Maybe he changed because he got older, or maybe when he moved to America everyone around him was so worried about making money, they influenced his behavior and he conformed to their way of life. The more money he made, the more he wanted.

I’m sure I’m not the only one on this planet that feels this way. I wonder if everyone else wishes that they had a greater meaning to their lives other than being financially successful. What about being successful in terms of true happiness? Why can’t we be satisfied with just being healthy and spending time with the ones we love. Maybe people should take some time and really think about what provides them with joy. Do material things really have a greater significance than the people in our life or our health? I believe that we should enjoy our life and money should be the least of our worries.