You know, for many years I looked at monetary wealth as a measure of success. A big house, a nice car tasty clothes. Recently I have re-evaluated my thinking.
We live in Bali which for those that do not know is a small Indonesian Island in the Indian Ocean. It is 9,000 miles from the UK and about 2 hours by plane north of Australia.
Bali is a beautiful place with so much culture and history. The people of Bali are friendly and warm and welcome you into their homes. My wife and I go for a walk in the mornings after the kids have gone to school and sometimes it is difficult to pick up the pace as people stop and talk to us every few hundred yards. Those that don’t stop give us the biggest smile and it is clear that they mean it.
Very few of them are cash rich however, they are rich in so many ways. They are nearly always happy, genuinely happy. They are nearly always surrounded by family and friends. They look after and care for each other.
There is an old homeless guy down the road from our house, that guy is fed and watered more times a day than I am. All from the generosity of people that have nothing of value to give apart from food and kindness. I suppose that is the point. The value of this kindness is so much more than money can buy.
So many people are out for what they can get striving for cash and the trappings that this cash brings. Yet it is funny that the things that give us the most pleasure cost nothing but a little time. Swimming and playing in the pool with the kids, walking on the beach with my wife or having a coffee and laughing about the funny things the kids say and do. Watching the sun go down at night or rise in the morning. I read this all back and it sounds soppy but it is true.
Most local Balinese people here do not seem to be that interested in monetary wealth. They work hard, have enough food for the family to eat and spend so much time laughing and chatting with each other. They are relaxed and happy with each other and the joy the their family and friends bring to each other.
I think I know who has got it right!
I have 7 kids, four from my first marriage. I missed so much of the eldest four growing up and, try as you might, you grow apart. I lost something that was so valuable and no amount of money can bring back those years and lost moments or remake those connections ;-( .
So what is the point of these ramblings you may ask….?
Well, when you are sat at your computer tapping away doing what you think is important you should take a minute and maybe you will find the time to go and read the kids a story or play on the Wii or playstation for a bit, or sit down and talk with them for a bit. Make the wife / girlfriend / husband / boyfriend a coffee or pour a glass of wine and ask them about their day. cos one day so much faster than you can imagine the kids will be all grown up and living a life of their own and you will be left wondering where all the time went. You will have all the money you want but you cannot buy time.
Burt Reynolds said I have been happy rich and happy poor but I got to tell you rich is better.
I suppose we all need to work out what being rich is and ask the question.. How rich am I?