Change Can Happen if We Work at It: Reflections on Wealth, Contentment, and Purpose
"This post is inspired by a convergence of ideas and reflections: a recent post by @Richard Edney, the thought-provoking insights from Tim Urban's latest publication "What's Wrong," and the moving words of Archbishop Charles Scicluna during the mass on the feast of Jesus' grandparents.
Together, these sources prompted me to examine what truly matters in life and how we can effect positive change."
As someone trained in finance, I once measured everything in terms of monetary value – wealth. However, with deeper reflection, I have come to realize that wealth is more than material possessions. It includes quality of life and satisfaction with what I have been blessed with. Sharing quality time with family, friends, and neighbours is something I now strive for, recognizing that a shared pleasure is doubled, and shared pain can diminish sadness.
Happiness is elusive; it comes and goes. We rejoice when our children succeed, but that joy may vanish if one falls ill. We cannot control others, be they family, friends, or neighbours, but we can control our own actions. My attitude has evolved to focus on contentment and the pursuit of improving others' lives, which brings me personal fulfilment.
I have learned to value what is freely available and abundant, yet society often pushes us towards the scarce, leading to a soul-destroying comparison of one's wealth relative to others rather than appreciating absolute wealth. This pursuit can overshadow what truly matters in life.
For much of my life, I followed the societal path: get a job, earn well, raise a family. Yet, I never understood life's purpose and never found true happiness in climbing the ladder. Eventually, I realized that the present was already good – shelter, food, entertainment, love, and care. I believe our purpose is to attain a spiritual contentment, finding joy in helping others.
My mother's words during family meals echo this sentiment: "When I watch all of you eat, I feel as if I have eaten." (mo guet zot mangé mo ventre plein)! Earning money honestly is not wrong, but having a clear purpose in doing so makes the difference between true fulfilment and a never-ending search for the indefinable.
So, let us live contentedly now, find our mission to improve the world, and work earnestly to make it happen.