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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Are You Better Off Today?

Golden Years
 A favorite question by politicians on the campaign trail is, and has always been, “Are you better off today than you were 4 years ago?”  My question is a rhetorical one and not one with an easy answer anyway.  The question is not about a 4 year span of time, but ever.  The easiest way to assess such a question is to target specific areas of comparison.  One might want to measure:
  • Financial
  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Happiness 
My question is more in terms of general (all-around wellbeing).
In my early youth, I was better off financially because I didn’t have any responsibilities as compared to most of the other stages of my life, and what made it better was that I had a very responsible mother that took good care of her family.  However, at some point in my forties and until now the control over my financial responsibilities reached a level of maturity and stability that tremendously improved my life.  Lucky or good?  Probably a little of both, but the outcome is the same, much improved.  Remember; the harder I work the luckier I get!
Emotionally, my teenage years were very stable because I enjoyed school and sports, I was surrounded by nice people even if they were mostly school mates, and not all friends.  My family life was not perfect, but above average.  My mother wasn’t in total control in the home front, but enough that she influenced good outcomes.  I worked hard and earned my own spending money plus contributed to the family budget.  When I first got married before the age of 20, the emotional aspect of my life became a roller coaster ride.  There were good times and rough times.  Some highs were the birth of my children, but the eventual and ultimate low was the divorce.  Three years (between marriages) of concentrating on my emotional healing and financial stability helped but didn’t start the total recovery until I remarried, and started my life over.  My emotional recovery became solid starting in my early 30’s when I regained control of family life, career, and finances.
Physical wellbeing is without a doubt at its best in the teenage years.  To answer the question, if I am better off today, would be like comparing apples and bananas.  If I answer that I am better off today, I would be lying.  But some of the improvements in medical science, as well as, a stronger financial personal position definitely allows me to enjoy my physical condition regardless of the wear and tear by time.  I can afford landscapers, construction workers for minor projects, etc.  In other words the things that I would have had to do myself when I was younger, I can now pay to have done.  Thus enjoying the use of my body for recreation and making the best use out of it.
Happiness has always followed me around.  Most likely because of my attitude of; “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  I’m sure that I’ve had my share of detractors along the way, and I know that if one thing would bother them most would be to drive my neighborhood and see me operating a lemonade stand, when they thought I should be suffering.  First of all I always look for the silver lining, and secondly, if anyone gets my goat the most they’ll see, is me feasting on goat steaks.  I will never give the opposition a chance to see me down in anyway shape or form.  I may get knocked off balance, but never knocked down for the count.  Happiness should always be the ultimate goal.  I’ve been blessed in that I have achieved it surrounded by my family, and for that I am a wealthy man.
Happiness, financial stability, and all the other things that you can measure in your life, must be appreciated if you are going to achieve wealth, because if you don’t count your blessings, you will never know what it’s like to be wealthy.  The best is yet to come….

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