Around The World in 100 Words - February 2017, Week 8

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Money and Happiness

In a world where a nickel ain't worth a dime anymore, it's important to remember that a rich man is nothing but a poor man with money. Every day is a bank account and time is our currency. No one is rich or poor -we all have 24 hours in a day. And though we know that a fool and his money are soon easily parted, we are less certain whether not parting with it means we are happier. So the question on the floor today is: can money buy happiness?

The answer to this is of course a rather lengthy one, but in a word, No. At best you could say that some amount of money -and the amount differs per person, provides peace of mind. But peace of mind provides security and no one has ever defined happiness this way. A seatbelt provides security, a bike helmet provides security or a warm coat on a cold winter day, but none of these bring about happiness -the quality or state of being happy.

The comedian Steve Martin said once: "I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too." Satire providing commentary on the vacuousness of material things. The fact is that too many people spend money they earned to buy things they don't want to impress people that they don't like. So let's rethink this altogether and agree that an investment in those people closest to us pays the best interest. Family, friends and one day our spouses too. No one is poor who has friends and friendship and happiness are the same word, just with different spellings.

So the question that should be asked is "how much you'd be worth if you lost all your money?" The answer to that is the real measure of your wealth. Wealth is the ability to fully experience life and in experiencing it to its fullest, we may just find happiness. So in a world that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing, I will conclude by quoting the great George Sand: there is only one happiness in this life. To love and be loved. Both are free, and as we know, the best things in life always are.