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Regular readers around here know Friday night is card night in the Wealthy Accountant neighborhood. Scheduling issues forced us to move card night to Saturday this weekend. As always, we catch up on news and solve all the world’s problems as we enjoy the game. This week was no different.
Roger lives across the road from me. He plays sheepshead, but we never invited him to our game, an oversight we need to rectify. Roger is a low-key man. He is quiet, but quick to help a neighbor in need. I don’t remember how Roger came up as a topic around the card table. We started to sing Roger’s praises when Pete said, “Roger would be unstoppable if he didn’t have so many medical problems.”
We all nodded. Roger is hard working and it is understood his medical condition is not good. I said, “Bob told me a few years ago Roger nearly died it was so bad.”
“It wasn’t good,” Pete said. “He was having a kidney replaced when he had a heart attack on the table. They had to do two surgeries in one.”
“Unreal,” I said, humbled.
“He can’t feel his feet either,” Pete continued. “His diabetes is so bad he hasn’t felt is feet in decades.”
I put my cards down. Silence fell over the card table. Finally I said, “I have no problems. I have life so good I have nothing to complain about.”
Everyone agreed. Truth is I was ashamed at my periodic whining, crying, and complaining over all the perceived injustices in the world. It is so easy to think I have it bad. I don’t. I have life so damn good I have nothing to complain about, ever. Roger has real problems; I have minor inconveniences.
Most of you, me included, are healthy. If you have your health you are already massively wealthy. I have an awesome family, a home with every convenience known to man, a business with the best employees and clients on the planet, and financial wealth less than 1% have. Yeah, I’m one of those hated one-percenters.
It wasn’t always that way. I was born to a poor farming family. Many of the values I hold dear today came from my poverty-stricken youth, working countless hours milking cows, feeding calves, cleaning the barn, baling hay, and hauling crops from the field. I knew the value of saving early on. Money was tight in those days and my grandparents spoke often of life during the Great Depression. We ate three meals a day, every day; I knew we had it good.
We all need a reminder on how good we really have it in our modern world. Food is cheap; medicine is advanced; computers and machines do most drudge work; and we can cover our basic needs with only a few hours of work per week (the rest is only to satisfy wants).
There are so many things we take for granted. Here are a few things making our lives massively rich that we all get for free:
- Roads: We can drive, bike, walk, or jog millions of miles of roads without paying a fee to do so. A few toll roads are out there and gas has a tax, but there is no charge to travel these highways and roads.
- Libraries: Practically any book, magazine, newspaper, audio book, movie, and internet are all for the taking. Just bring it back in three or four weeks when you are done. Libraries, the best deal ever devised.
- Internet: Most stuff on the internet is free.
- Parks: Many parks are free to enjoy. National and state parks may have a modest fee. Local and county parks are free with rare exception.
- Rivers: You can boat down many rivers in this country with your family at no cost.
- Advice: Has it ever been easier to realize your financial goals and dreams? The internet is filled with free, well-written personal finance blogs. Your library has books and other resources on the subject. Living well on less is easy with all the help available.
- Tax preparation: Lower income people can use tax preparation software for free and even e-file without cost. (Should I be sharing this information?)
- Beaches: There are numerous free beaches to take the family for a day trip.
- Parties: You can have a BYOB block party. Free entertainment for the whole community.
Look around your life and see how good things really are. Remember Roger. Things can always be worse. Roger never complains about his medical issues; they are what they are. I am sure he can find someone worse off than he is. The truth is we all have it good. We can count our blessings or cry bitterly. You can surrender to the disease or rise above it like Stephen Hawking; you can whine about an unfortunate accident or make a difference like Christopher Reeve.
When you cry, people want to avoid you. People are attracted to those who rise above adversity. Of course the weather is too hot, cold, humid, dry, windy, blah, blah, blah. Sure your ass aches. It is called age. And let us not forget all the bitching we can do about politicians, government and taxes. Whine, whine, whine. Sometimes we are so caught up in what we don’t have while failing to appreciate the fact we are alive.
Our lives are great and getting better due to advancing technology. In the near future we will not have to even drive our cars; they will drive themselves. Life is so good we forget how good it is. I think we are all scared shitless about the world we live in. Most people do not think they deserve such a luxurious lifestyle and self sabotage. If you fall into this category: STOP IT! I watch employees and clients suffering because life is too good for them to handle. Sit back, take a deep breath, smile and enjoy the great fortune you have by being born in the modern age, and accept the gift life has granted you.