Can Money Buy Happiness?
Growing up I was always aware that my family had less money than other families in our area, but I was also led to believe that I had important things most of those other families didn't have -- music, culture, an appreciation for education and travel, etc. In my grown-up life I have come to appreciate that money *can* by happiness if it means the difference between having my basic needs met or not, but I believe that I can be happy with much less than many other people I know, because I don't put much value on stuff. There is a certain level of comfort that really, truly does make me feel more content. Worrying about whether or not I can pay the rent is *very* stressful and has *definitely* impacted the quality of my life at times. Since living in Palo Alto, I have become uncomfortably conscious of how poor I am -- of all the things I really can't afford that most of the others who live here can. It's hard not to notice just how beat-up and old my car is, my laptop, my clothing... how much nicer I would look if I could afford to spend some money attending to my appearance. Gosh - a new wardrobe, a smart hair cut and dye, a spray tan, liposuction, a facial, a manicure, waxing, a make-over - I'd be a new woman!! And frankly, it makes me *angry* that I've come to value any of those things or think they are in any way important. I *do* need to have my basic needs met. I *need* to be able to pay my bills on time and feed and clothe myself adequately. But, the things I value that I think make me happy are: good health, friendship and laughter, a strong connection with my family, and feeling a sense of purpose -- like I'm doing something in the world that makes a difference - that matters - (or at least is useful). It's easy to forget those things sometimes, but when I do think about it, I feel more clear about where I need to concentrate my energy.
What do you think? Can money buy happiness? What makes you happy?