In the recent months, I have had to replace a muffler, my brakes and then my brake lines and fuel line. I have hemorrhaged cash at the dentist office, on the cars, on the kids leaving very little leftover to actually pad the savings or for some kid free enjoyment for me and the Mrs. This typically causes me to rethink how I spend my time, how eager I should be at the office, dust off the old business ideas and think it is time to start growing a business etc. As a result, I start feeling a bit down, like I have not provided enough for my wife, for my kids and that I have somehow let myself down by not having accumulated enough wealth to spend freely. There are the typical wants... A new car would be great, a vacation with the kids, a vacation without the kids, put in a pool, extensive house renovations etc.
It is almost like a snowball effect, all these thoughts and feeling come rushing in and then somehow, almost as if I am fighting off my own thoughts, I remember that these are just things and things within themselves, don't really matter. Sure it sounds cliche but when you stop and think about it, you have to ask your self what more do you really need?
I pose this question to myself almost daily. My reality is this. We are a one income family. We drive older cars (one with a payment, one without). We live in a good town with schools that score typically in the top 50 in the country. Like most families, we have debt which we would love to see go away. After all, that would make life much easier. Money seems to leave the house more than it arrives but in the end, we have three healthy children, a happy marriage and some beautiful pets. Our home is plenty big in a wonderful neighborhood. It needs some updating but we don;t plan on going anywhere and we are comfortable.
Could I make more in another industry or job? Likely I could. What would that really get me though? I could afford to purchase more stuff, buy newer cars and have more material things. Perhaps the kids could do more activity's or we could dine out or vacation more often. Will this really improve my life? I think that is arguable but the answer is no. Having more money to purchase more things will only lead me to the same place on a grander scale. Being able to dine out one night a week will not make me any happier... as long as I have dinner with my family, I don't really care where I have it.
I think it is easy to get caught up in wants rather than needs and even harder to be envious of what others have that you *think* you need. the bottom line is that material things do not make you happy, they typically fill a void that you have within. Acquiring and having becomes a way to fill that void however, it will never get filled. True happiness will come from within, the material world is just that, material. Do yourself a favor and the next time you feel like you need something that someone else has, ask yourself why.