I had a friend tell me that I was the richest person he knew. Which made me stop and think. What exactly did he mean? Is that comment an insult or a compliment? What is a rich person any way?
Is it only about having money? Or is it more about apparent life style? Did he think I’m rich because I am old enough, healthly enough, and driven by the need to see things I haven’t seen before enough to want to spend my carefully hoarded money on crazy trips?
When I got married, my husband and I lived on boxes of Macaroni and Cheese – it was all we could afford. We’ve worked hard, saved money, spent carefully over the last 44 years. Does that make us appear rich today? Is not spending money when you are young, and then deciding to spend it a bit more freely when you are a senior make you seem rich?
Or is being preceived as rich a reflection of my need for adventure and my willingness to spend the money required to achieve it? Or is that comment just a refection of how few people my friend knows? Or at least how few people he has the true financial picture of?
Bill Gates is supposed to be the richest person in the world – do his friends think he’s rich? Does he think he’s rich? Do I think he’s rich? I’m not so sure that he’s rich in the ways I think are important. Can he travel anywhere he wants, can he just sit at home and watch the bird feeder? I suspect that his life style isn’t really one that I would enjoy – money or no money.
And I honestly believe that you meet more interesting, nicer people when you aren’t staying in fancy hotels and eating at fancy restaurants and taking taxi’s everywhere. You meet people when you take the risk of public transportation, eat in popular places, stay in places where there are kitchens or lounges that other guests use to reach out and meet each other.
I agree that I take wild and crazy trips – but I don’t even own a car, I ride buses! I haven’t bought new clothes in a long time – except for socks. Those wear out – so annoying. I have a tiny suitcase that holds everything I need for a month (or more) of extreme travel. I check the price of everything I buy – often twice.
If I was as rich as my friend seems to think – why would I have tried so hard to win the Biggest Baddest Bucket List contest – a contest that I still say I could have done better with – but water under a bridge and all that.
Despite the exotic locations – I don’t spend a lot of money traveling, or eating, or buying clothes. I bought a new watch a few days ago – $25 at Walmart – because my old one just got tired and stopped working.
I admit to a love of nice faucets and granite counter tops and magnificant views. But I think those are some of the essentials of life. Like a Toto Toilet. What is life without a proper flushing toilet. Really – does that mean I’m rich? Does putting up with a toilet that doesn’t flush properly say something about your financial status – or just say something about what you deem as important.
So I guess I’m wondering what I do that makes him think I’m rich.
I remember my husband once telling me that you always imagine that people have everything you have – and then add to that what you see them having that you don’t have. So maybe that’s part of the issue. He can afford to spend 3 months on an island – I spend just 2 weeks and call my self lucky. I still go to work (and love it) when I’m home – he is full retired – his time is his own.
Well – I guess I’m ok with being thought of as rich. As long as I don’t have to deal with paparazzi. That would definitely drive me nuts!
Signing off to contemplate her bank account (NOT!) – The soup lady.