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Do we need all that we have?

By Ann Mukei | August 4th 2015

Richness is a status we all covet. Atleast most of us do anyway. We want to have a lot of money to buy all the beautiful and luxurious things. And we want to have spare cash to keep our bank accounts active.

Others want to have richness in health, in intelligence, wisdom and matters education; richness in beauty and looks; richness in what we eat and drink; richness in what we drive; richness in what we wear; richness in relationships...the list is long.

Countries too want to be rich so that their citizens can flourish.

Richness is characterised by such words as fertility, intensity, wealth, opulence, abundance, fruitfulness and lushness.

Rich words that imply satisfaction. A few of us have been lucky to realise all these and so much more, yet there is that thing that we still lack, that thing that is crucial to the core of our happiness, and for this reason all the above ceases to matter.

An elderly friend once told me that all she ever wanted from life was to have everything that she needs but not everything that she wants.

She wanted to get the means to get everything that she wanted but in the same breath the wisdom not to get what she wanted. And she wanted the wisdom to know the difference between need and want!

She went on to tell me that when you have all you want, you end up leading a lazy life. That when things are too easy you become oblivious of what is around you; people and values included. She explained that it is for this reason that a little suffering is good for us.

Just a little discomfort to appreciate what you do not have when it finally comes your way.

She said she did not want to be rich, just wealthy.

She wanted an all-rounded life that would afford her just enough money when she retired from work. By her side would be her happy husband and children, and hopefully grandchildren, all enveloped by good health and strength of character and just enough to see them through a comfortable lifestyle.

Many years after that conversation with my friend, I ask for moderation in everything that constitutes my life, for a balance of everything that is important to me.

A helping of health, a dose of family, a bit of happiness, a sprinkle of beauty, a slice of intelligence, a dollop of fantasy, enough time for work and family, some time for dreaming and thinking about nothing, and a pinch of sorrow to remind me that I am as human as the next person.

I realise that richness of character is borne out of a little discomfort and suffering that is followed by a profound understanding that life does not always offer its assorted goodies on a silver platter, and that there are times one has to work hard and/or even sacrifice to get what he/ she wants.

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