Elias Pelcastre

Cash a smile: Our insatiable desire for those crispy Benjamins

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The human race thrives off consumerism.

Want the hottest fashion trends? Buy this unique and beautiful Fendi purse! Vogue? Yes, please! Gucci? You know it! How about Forever 21 for those who can’t afford the higher end? Count me in!

We thrive off our thirst to have more. We are never satisfied. We have an insatiable need to constantly look good and have the trendiest things in our homes and closets. We care so much about what others think and anyone who says otherwise is in denial. Why else would we keep buying new stuff?

We want to look good because we care about what others think.

The media shoves it down our throats and we eat it up, sometimes without even realizing it.

Nowadays, success is based off of how much stuff we can get. The more nice things you have, the bigger house you can buy, the more technology you possess… it’s all a show. And it’s a show we are all watching and participating in whether or not we want to admit it.

But in reality, the more stuff we have, the more stuff we want. It doesn’t matter how many times we go shopping for the hottest items on the market because the next day, there will be something newer and better to beat what was “in” 24 hours prior.

 

Money has never made man happy, nor will it. There is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has, the more one wants.” – Benjamin Franklin

 

It is an endless cycle that thrives off our need to be noticed and feel important.

But some people don’t need all that glitz and glam in their lives and are perfectly happy with what little they have.

In the documentary “Happy”, a man speaks of his tribe that lives off a remote island who build their own homes in forests and on the dirt paths with little clothing, little access to showers, etc., and claims to be very happy. He thrives off his community and his love for his family. The sense of belonging and the high emotions perpetuated throughout their community is enough for them to feel satisfied with their simplistic lifestyle. No amount of high-end items would make them any happier because they have everything they need just by being around each other.

That’s what true happiness is all about.

Do people really think that celebrities are happy all the time just because they are millionaires and billionaires? They have many problems, in fact, probably more so than those who aren’t as wealthy. With more money, comes more responsibility. They have to worry about who their real friends are (are people just hanging out with them because they have nice things to mooch off of?), how to budget themselves so they don’t overspend when they receive a large sum of money, how to keep track of their finances, what skin product to buy so they can always look amazing on camera and at red carpet events (because god forbid they show their humanness with a pimple or scar), etc.

Not only this, but who really needs THAT much money? We’ve all seen celebrities fall to drug addictions and you want to know why? They have so much money that they can just blow a huge chunk of it on drugs because they have nothing better to spend it on. They already have the 3-D plasma HDTV, the multi-billion dollar estate, top-of-the-line high-quality clothing, fancy cars, a yacht, five dogs, and the list could go on. They have the latest and greatest of everything, now all that’s left to do is party.

As Robin Williams once put it, “Cocaine is God’s way of telling you you are making too much money.”

True happiness cannot be bought. You could live in the best city in the world, with the latest and greatest everything, but you can still be miserable. How you feel on the inside will never be replaced by money (no matter how crispy and green it is).

“Money cannot buy peace of mind. It cannot heal ruptured relationships, or build meaning into a life that has none.” – Richard M. DeVos

Just look at some prime examples of people in the spotlight with a lot of money, but also deal (or have dealt) with a lot of problems:

The list could go on forever. This was just to show how many people with a lot of money suffer from some form of unhappiness that hide their pains through drugs and alcohol at some point. Even though they may appear to be living the dream, what they feel on the inside is vastly different than what the public sees on the red carpet.

“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” – Ayn Rand

Although some people use money to buy anti-depressants, experience retail therapy, experience actual therapy, and so on, these are all only temporary fixes. Happiness is a state of mind. Just because you went and ate something awesome or went out to buy a bunch of cool new stuff, it will not change your overall mindset. Money will only make life easier and more comfortable but it will never make you happy.

 

“Money can’t buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.”-Spike Milligan

The fact of the matter is that you are not truly wealthy and happy until you have the things money can’t buy; things like love, morals, respect, sense of belonging, family, trust, patience, ambition, integrity, intelligence, character, common sense.

We’ve all heard the saying, “The best things in life are free.” It’s overused and cliché, but it’s the truth.

Our society is just built around the idea of money. We go to school to get a job to pay the bills and continue the flow of money in our economy. We buy stuff, we go to cool places, and then we die. But what is the point of having the nicest, greatest things on the market if you have no one of value in your life to share it with? Not only that, but why do you need all these things? If you have true friends, a loving family, and a sense of internal satisfaction, why do you need that fancy car? Or that 80-inch TV?

Granted, these are all nice luxurious items to have and if you can afford it, awesome! But you shouldn’t be buying them if you think they are going to make you happy. That million-dollar house is going to feel very lonely if you aren’t happy.

All these leisurely things we purchase are meaningless to feeling emotionally stable. It’s comforting to know you are financially secure but being emotionally content is far more important is truly the greatest wealth in life.

Money only impresses lazy people. When someone is self-reliant, they are not going after people with money. Someone who can stand on his or her own two feet financially look for someone who can complement him or her emotionally.

It’s a bonus to find a partner who has money, but it isn’t a ladder to upgrade.

Eternal happiness is build from the inside out, not the other way around. You should be able to live your life and wear a smile to your grave. You should never live the one life you have unsatisfied and buried in a bunch of meaningless stuff. The real sustenance comes from things only human beings can provide emotionally. That’s one of the greatest gifts of life: our ability to love and feel.

So make sure you are doing things for the right reasons and not simply buying your way to aesthetic contentedness.