I was reading this post over on DesignMom which links to another article on a study that was done that basically says money doesn’t buy happiness, only temporary satisfaction and excitement, UNLESS you use that money to give to someone else. Then it technically buys happiness.
It’s an interesting thing to ponder really. I mean, how many of us dream about a new house, a new car, or a new fancy wardrobe? How often have you told yourself that you’d be so much happier if you just had that spacious ranch with the open floor plan and walk-in pantry? (Ok, so maybe that’s just specific to me.)
The comments on the post I link to above were pretty interesting and I tend to agree with the (nicer) ones that argue that money can help relieve the stress of bills and living paycheck to paycheck so therefore, by eliminating that stress, you must be happier. I can agree with that. But I also think that what is just merely comfortable for one person is another person’s destitute and yet another person’s overwhelming wealth. For example, we own a house in the suburbs and two cars. That alone is enough for a couple that’s barely making ends meet in an apartment with a shared bus pass to think I’m living in the lap of luxury. While another couple might look at our neighborhood with a few foreclosures down the street and two eight-year-old Hyundais in the driveway and think, “Man, if we had to give up our 5,000 sq ft house and two Infinitis and downgrade to that, we’d be slumming it.”
So I guess what I’m saying here is it’s all about perspective and how much money (or lack of) already dictates your happiness.
But let’s talk about the the giving it away part.
One of my neighbors has brain cancer. She has a husband, a college-aged son, and two young daughters (youngest is 7, I believe). I wouldn’t say there’s no hope, but last I heard, doctors had told her husband that the type of cancer she had would come back. It always has in every case they’ve seen. Life expectancy: A year. Maybe 18 months. That’s pretty fucking devastating news. It hurts my heart every time I see them in the driveway, or see the girls riding their bikes up the street. Hell, just even looking at their house makes me feel awful for what they’re going through.
So a couple of weeks ago I told her I had some Cardinals tickets that we couldn’t use and since I know they’re big Cardinals fans, I asked if they would please take them off our hands. I also said,”The seats are decent so you won’t be in the nosebleeds, so please, enjoy a night out on us since we can’t use them.”
She was so excited. Neither of her girls had ever been to a Cardinals game. It was a very fast “YES!”
Then I went online and purchased the tickets. Decent ones. Not in the nosebleeds.
And even though it cost me more than what I pay for gas for a month, and even though we’ve got a credit card bill that will take a few more months to pay off, it made me so very happy to see her family’s smiling faces as their girls enjoyed their very first Cardinals game last night. It’s something I won’t forget, and neither will they.
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