I never understood why people stress over money. Money has no real value, it’s all an illusion.
Last week, I was at the beach and they had a high school band playing jazz music during the sunset. It was a free event and I was having a blast. Then, they started selling raffle tickets—I wasn’t sure what they were raffling off, but I wasn’t interested.
This little girl who was about 10 years old came running up to her mother begging her for five dollars so she could buy a raffle ticket. She could hardly contain herself as she was so excited about winning. I had to ask, “What are they raffling off?” She said, “A stack of cash, a stack of cash!”
I looked up at the gazebo where they were playing and saw someone holding out a fist full of money. The little girl’s mother agreed to give her the five dollars for her chance to win the stack of cash.
Soon, they were announcing that if you won the money, they would appreciate you donating the money back to the high school band so they could use it for an upcoming trip. I saw the little girl’s face looking down at the sand with her tickets crumbled up in her hand. I said, “They are calling the numbers now, maybe you are going to win!” She said, “It’s just a donation.”
Seeing the excitement in her with the thoughts of winning a stack of cash was almost contagious. Likewise, seeing her uninterested if she won, was just as contagious.
When I was raising my daughters, we never really had a lot of money, but we could get excited about a stack of cash totaling $20! If we checked the ATM and saw that we had more than 20 bucks, we felt rich! There was a lot we could do with that!
We created experiences with the money and they were priceless. We have memories of spending our last 10 dollars on pizza and it tasting better than anything we have ever had. We went to Starbucks with a few dollars and brought board games and turned it into a “night out.”
One time, we drove to the mall and bought a bus pass and took the bus all day, going from one mall to the next. For the price of a couple of bus passes and lunch, we had an amazing day. Since we had never taken the bus before, it was like an adventure.
I have seen people with much more money have less experiences and more stress. Maybe they decided to spend their money on bigger items that also come with a price tag to take care of them. Maybe they didn’t know that although their child was begging for that latest iPod, once Christmas was over, that feeling goes away pretty quickly.
The nice thing about using your money for experiences is that these last a lifetime. The experiences don’t get outdated, run out of batteries, or break down. They are with us forever.
Maybe you want to experience parasailing, or maybe you have always wanted to go skinny dipping in the ocean at night, or maybe you have always wanted to dress up like Santa in the middle of the summer with a bag full of goodies for kids and walk around handing out free toys.
Whatever it is, whatever it takes, do it. Don’t buy into the commercial’s that are created to make us think that objects are going to create happiness. There is nothing that can create happiness more than experiencing life to its fullest.
Money can’t buy happiness, but if you use what you have to create lifetime memories, that will have more value than any dollar amount on that piece of paper you have!
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Ed: Bryonie Wise