Raggedly Rich because looks can be deceiving.
Just because something’s scuffed up and ragged, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hold value. Some of the softest sweaters I have got that way because I’ve had them for years. It’s become the cultural norm for everything to be new and shiny – commercials and advertisements are rampant with ‘you’re not good enough’ mentality, trying to convince you that you need the latest this and the latest that. I’m not a proponent to living in squalor in the interest of saving, but I do think that identifying what’s important to you and why has gotten lost in the wash of mass media.
For instance, I love playing ice hockey. Unfortunately, it’s a pricey sport, so I try my best to keep to the thrifty side. I’ve had the same shin pads, hockey pants, and shoulder pads since my early teens; I inherited my brother’s elbow guards when I started playing (age 11), and still wear them to this day. I’ve leveraged birthday’s and Christmas’ for new gloves (my parents bought me a pair in 2003 for Christmas, and the hole in one of the palms finally got too large to ignore last year), and a new hockey stick to replace my 10+ year-old blue Easton Synergy. I still bring my Synergy to games as a back-up, despite the various gouges, one disconcerting hole, numerous chips in the blade, and the mysterious something that rattles around inside of it. I actually brought it to the store when I was getting the new one so I could say, “The updated version of exactly this, please.”
And while it’s important to me to play hockey, it’s not important to me to wear makeup. And so I don’t currently own any. I’ve actually only worn it once in the past year. I used to have a small bottle of foundation, and pulled it out of storage for a wedding last summer, only to be told that things like that expired after four years. And I was about a year or two past that date. Thankfully there were no adverse effects to my face after I used it, but the Internet seemed to agree with the sentiment, so I promptly (and sadly) toss it in the trash after the event. I’ll choose comfort over glitz every time, but when I have to suck it up and get fancy for a joe-job, I’ll stick to no-fuss, warm, and practical.
Being rich isn’t just about money – it’s about lifestyle.
I’m under no delusions that my current career (the arts, and writing) is a path to numeral-flavoured riches. But rich to me is about how I live my life. It’s about self-awareness. It’s about knowing who you are, and being at peace with that. It’s about learning why you do the things you do, and discovering if they speak true to you.
I, for one, have the tendency to answer the question I think someone is asking, instead of the question they’re actually asking – sometimes efficient, but also known to lead to confusion, and/or annoyance at times. There’s a place and time for assumptions, and misjudging that time and place usually leaves me feeling like a dink. But, even though there are things that I’m working on, I’m still happy with who I am.
I do want to acknowledge that I know just how much of an impact financial stability has on the quality of life. I know that there are people out there who live paycheque to paycheque, and are one unexpected expense away from not being able to afford food on the table. The stress of that is unimaginable to me. My parents grew up in Cold War Poland, my grandparents told me about the days of bread lines, ration stamps, and food shortages during the war and after it. I’m not claiming to have ever experienced poverty, nor that money isn’t important.
Money only helps to support and facilitate a happy, content life to a certain point – it doesn’t automatically mean that you will have a happy and content life.
While the dictionary defines rich as having a great deal of money and/or assets, I like to define rich as a fulfilling and happy life. And I might drive a beat-up car, wear scruffy clothes, avoid makeup, prefer to have coffee in a friend’s kitchen – and even though it might look a little ragged on the outside, I think it’s immensely rich on the inside, and that’s what’s important to me. My family, my friends, my creativity, and the impact I have on people doing the work I love to do.