Monthly Archives: June 2014

Wealth (n.)

I need to make more money.

You’re a liar if you say you’ve never thought it. Money is important to us. What does money bring? Wealth, of course. If you’ve got money, you’re wealthy. It’s what we’ve been told for ages.

So I set out to make some money. I was poor in New York. I hated it. I couldn’t go out. I couldn’t eat at restaurants. I couldn’t see a movie in theaters. I needed to make money. I needed to be wealthy.

I packed up and moved across the country. I took a job in San Francisco. I’m gonna make more here than I have anywhere else. I’ll be wealthy, finally. I’ll be able to do stuff. Fun stuff. 

I worked hard from day one and it paid off. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a ton of money. But it was the first time I was about to live comfortably. The first time I wasn’t barely scraping by. I could go to the bar and buy a round. I could grab take out on my way home for myself and my roommates. It was wonderful. I felt happy. I felt wealthy.

I put my cash into savings. Towards my loans. Towards bar tabs and trips and concerts and clothing. I made a bunch of friends. Friends who also made money. It was life changing.

Two months later I got laid off.

Wealth (n.): abundance of valuable material possessions or resources.

Synonyms: affluence, prosperity, riches, means, substance, fortune.

Can you use it in a sentence please? 

“Some people buy boats and cars to display their wealth.”

Do you have a alternate sentence?

“He used his wealth to bribe officials.”

So what is wealth? Wealth is money. Wealth is power. Wealth is material.

Holy shit. I’m unemployed. I’m embarrassed. What will my family think? Friends? What will new people I meet think? Holy shit.

I started questioning myself. Am I not valuable? I’ve had three jobs within two years of graduating college. Will I ever get where I want to be? Am I a freeloader? Lazy? Worthless? Will I ever achieve what I’m looking for? Why can’t I figure out my career?

What am I supposed to do? I have no money coming in. The happiness and joy I felt – will that be gone?

I disagree with Merriam and Webster’s definition. How can something that leaves you unfulfilled and wanting more ever make you feel wealthy? Ask someone with money if they want more money, they’ll say yes. More power? Yes. More things? Yes.

“Hey dude. I don’t know what to say 🙁 I’m sorry”
“I miss you”
“Wow. You ok?”
“How you doing buddy? I’m so sorry.”
“Miss you, dude. Not the same without you here.”
“Sigh. So so so freakin’ sad that you are gone from this office.”
“You are amazing. I’m not being sarcastic.”
“I miss you! Can we please stay best friends?”
I responded to the texts and emails that rolled in as the news spread across the company.

“Thanks. I’m ok.”
“I already miss you too.”
“I’ll be fine.”
“I’d love if you could help me find something new.”
“It’s fine, really. I’ll miss you guys the more than anything.”
“Really, don’t worry about me. I’ll be ok.”

I started getting a good feeling again. The feeling I had before, when I still had my job. That happiness, joy. These people truly care about me.

The idea of wealth is skewed. Wealth is not money. Wealth is not power. Wealth is not status or title or whose name you can drop.

Wealth is loving and being loved in return. Wealth is having deep and meaningful relationships. Wealth is surrounding yourself with the people that are important to you and never taking it for granted.

“If you add a little lemon juice to the Brussels sprouts it’ll bring out their flavor more,” my roommate told us.

“I’ll start the spaghetti,” another mentioned.

“Don’t strain yourself boiling that water,” I harassed while I mixed together the ingredients for the meatballs.

“I’m out of wine!” a third roommate yelled from the living room. We opened a second bottle and poured ourselves new glasses.

Thirty minutes later we filled our plates and the seven of us crammed into the living room to eat and watch How To Train Your Dragon. I took a spot on the floor and put my plate of spaghetti and meatballs on top of a Rubbermaid container. We turned off the lights and let the show begin.

When I finished eating, I leaned my back against the arm of the couch. I thought back to the texts I’d received the day before from the heavy hearts of my former coworkers. I thought about my family’s support when I told them I might take a little time to myself to figure out what to do next. I thought about my friends’ well wishes and genuine interest in helping me find a new job. I thought about the last thirty minutes I spent cooking and joking with buddies I made just a month earlier.

I closed my eyes, laid my head back against the couch, and smiled. No amount of money could make me feel as wealthy as I felt in that moment.