When it comes to money and wealth there are two things, that for our family, I know to be true;
- We do not have much money.
- We are very rich.
It is a little bit baffling, two very contradictory positions, but both are true.
I recently discovered that according to Government guidelines our family are in the poorest 20% of all UK households. (You can find out where you fall here) I also recently read an article in the Guardian that says families who earn upwards of £70k are classed as rich, but a large amount of those earning that much were upset as they didn't feel rich.
This gave me serious pause for thought. How can it be that those classed as rich don't feel rich, but I, classed as poor, do feel rich?
To be frank it is because it is just that, a feeling. Not a fact.
To be rich you only need to feel it.
So I got to thinking, why is it that I feel rich? We don't have much money, we live paycheck to paycheck, we have only travelled outside of the UK three times in the 9 years since having children, we eat out rarely and our children wear mostly hand-me-downs.
It is not an extravagant life, but it is a rich one. Here is my very personal, very unscientific guide, to achieving that elusive "rich" feeling....
Live somewhere that takes your breath away
When deciding where to live people usually decide based on 2 factors; work and family. We ignored both of those factors and chose somewhere that takes our breath away. The Gower for us is a little slice of heaven, and Wales is a country rich in beauty, history and culture. We have, on a few occasions, had to sit down and assess whether career pursuits outside of Wales, that would help us gain financially, were the right path for us, and when having children decide if moving closer to family was advisable (we have no family at all in Wales). Every time we have reached the same conclusion; there is no where else we would rather be. No paycheck could ever make up for living somewhere we didn't love.
Spend as much time outside as possible
If you are familiar with my blog it will come as no surprise to you that I love the outdoors. I genuinely believe that a good dose of fresh air (sea air preferably) can help cure almost anything. Make time in your busy lives for a walk amongst nature at least once a week. Best part; it's usually free!
Adopt a Global perspective
One of the benefits of technology and the internet is that we can adopt a much more global perspective when evaluating our own circumstances. Taking some time to learn a little bit about what people in war torn countries or living in abject poverty are going through can help us gain a little perspective when we might be feeling "poor." Counting your blessings and appreciating all that you do have will go a long way in helping you to feel rich. Likewise, surrounding yourselves with people who have no interest in you income or social status will make it much easier for you to let go of society's high standards for wealth and adopt your own.
Confession time; I am not busy. Maybe I should rephrase that? I do not feel busy. Are they the same thing? I admitted this to some people recently who were horrified that I, a mother of 3, was not busy. I'm pretty sure they think i'm doing life wrong. I'm pretty sure I am not. My life is full, I am not sat home twiddling my thumbs wondering what to do with all of my time, but in the way that minimalism has caused us to question what stuff we value, slowing down has made us question what activities bring us value. Maybe that is a whole other blog post, but say yes more to the things that bring you joy, and the people who you love, and fill your precious time wisely and you might just stop feeling busy too.
Embrace a bit of Minimalism
I know, I know, I go on about it a lot. But I would be remiss to share why I feel so rich without mentioning it. One big factor in feeling poor is the desire for more. Our society has sold us a picture of life and it is full of "stuff." The fancy car, the big house, the expensive clothes, the latest phone, we struggle to feel content without it, and once you factor in children and keeping up with the latest trends on their behalf, it becomes impossible. I share this quote a lot, but it has changed my outlook on life; "Wanting less is a far better blessing than having more."
Once you stop trying to have it all, and can enjoy what you already have, and let go of what you no longer need, you will be richer than you have ever been. Trust me.
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