Monday, June 30, 2014

Money On My Mind

Who was it that said that money can't buy happiness? I hate that we have phrases like "Money can't buy happiness" that we all seem to abide by, when we have mounds of evidence that points to the contrary.

I have a friend that has been having car trouble recently. She's only going to be living in the state for another month or so but she still needs something to go to work and back. Metro Atlanta has a notoriously bad public transit system because people that lived in the northern suburbs of the city were mortified at the thought of "urban" people being able to traverse the city at will so they never expanded on the MARTA system. MARTA literally takes you to 15 places in a city as large as Atlanta. It doesn't even take you directly to Turner Field, which is one of the reasons why the Braves will be moving to Cobb County in a few years. But I have digressed.

Her car troubles were making it to the point where she was nervous her car would go caput at any moment, so she took her car in to be serviced. She was told that the repair fees would be more than the car itself, so this past Saturday she decided that she needed to seriously start looking at new cars. After some online research, a few phone calls and emails, and a visit to a dealership, she has a new car. It's a great deal, and a huge upgrade from a car that threatened to die on her everytime she got on 400, and boy is she happier than ever now. Money allowed her to have happiness and peace of mind. Isn't that all people should be striving for?

There are some life moments that are free and can only occur in certain situations whether you have monetary wealth or not. The other 90% of life depends on having money, free time, and the appropriate fun social network. I'm constantly reminded of this as July 4th weekend will be here in a few days, and I stopped to realize just how blessed I am that I'm able to plan a trip and spend the holidays in a different city than the ones I live and go to work in. I'm gainfully employed, even though I'm not saving as much money as I could or should be saving, but I have marginal free time around my 50-hour work week and I have friends that I can kick it with. There's not much more that I could ask for. Could I have fun without money? Yes I could, but the lack of money would be offset by my lack of free time, as I would have to make some lifestyle changes in order to survive and getting a second job would probably be near the top of that list. I also don't have any children (that I know about) so that helps to boost my free time ratio as well. Children are great, and I love kids, but having kids is truly a life changing event and the two things they affect the most are free time and money.

The other part of that triumvirate of happiness is having an appropriate social network. There's no magic number of friends that you should have, as I know tons of people who lead very fulfilling lives with only one friend. It's all about surrounding yourself with people you enjoy being around who push you to become a better person. Whether that's through perfecting your crafts and hobbies or learning how to get thicker skin or learning how to bounce back from relationship issues, a strong social support system is important. Even introverts need human interaction, so why not make those seconds count to your benefit?

I have a friend that's moving down to Atlanta in a few weeks and I'm one of the few people that she knows. I will try my best to make sure she has an enjoyable experience and makes a lot of great memories down here as I know what it's like to move to a new city not knowing anyone. I told her I was going to allow her to join my social network and I hope she's able to maximize the other 2 parts of the happiness trifecta in order to make the most out of this experience.

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