What an exciting week here at Duchess! We have a great guest post today from the founder of the blog, Redefining the Meaning of Wealth, Paige Hodges. Paige is not only offering a great perspective on wealth and success, but she’s practicing what she preaches. She’s a great writer and a great friend, so read all about the new meaning of wealth below and be sure to check out Paige’s blog at: www.redefiningthemeaningofwealth.com
The New Meaning of Wealth
Wealth is a loaded word. It conjures up images of fancy houses, big fat bank accounts, and the habits portrayed by 99.999% of the population on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. I feel most of these definitions are becoming passé. Yes, there are still those who define wealth in these limited ways but for those of us who have had enough of excessive materialism and the pursuit of the almighty dollar, wealth is taking on a more empowering definition.
Our economy is changing. The news media keeps talking about the “recovery” but what if that “recovery” is completely different from what we are expecting. Are you ready for change? Are you ready to own less? Are you ready to share more? Are you ready to cease letting your material possessions and job determine who you are? More importantly, and this is the exiting part, are you ready to experience a brand new kind of wealth that’s more nourishing and enlightening?
The lifestyles Americans have been living are simply not sustainable and I would argue not all that fulfilling. I’m currently unemployed and have never felt richer in my life. For the last 6 months, I have forfeited buying such non-necessities as extra clothes, manicures, pedicures, facials, meals at over-priced trendy restaurants, expensive weekend get-a ways, and the newest home décor must-haves. (My one exception is the extra blonde highlights I have weaved into my already blonde hair. Some things a girl’s just gotta have no matter how broke she is!) Now there is nothing wrong with any of the aforementioned things, but I’m living proof one can still enjoy the good life even if I do have to do my own nails and beat up an egg white to apply to my complexion.
As a result of having no job and less discretionary income, I have gained free time and a more relaxed lifestyle. I don’t feel drained and hurried all the time. I’m spending more time with my husband and my friends. I have more time to practice yoga, go for walks, read, and write. I sleep better and I have not been sick (knock on wood!) in quite some time. The food I eat is more healthy and delicious because I have time to seek out good deals at the market and practice my culinary skills at home.
As I search for my next job, my goal is not so much money but work that will allow me to continue my “wealthy” lifestyle. I’m not against making money and most of us have to work, but I am against my life being held hostage to a job so I can finance unnecessary consumption when the things I really value cost very little or nothing at all. I’m no longer willing to trade my life for unfulfilling work or excessive amounts of hours spent in an office cubicle. When I’m 80, those are not the kind of memories I want embedded in my psyche.
As we redefine wealth, all of our definitions will vary but I doubt the latest tech gadget or designer purse will be at the top of too many lists. The things I value the most are my husband, friends, family, health, pet companions, education, life experiences, laughing, yoga, and free time.
What about you? What do you value and how do you define wealth? Feel free to comment and share your list as well. We live in exciting times because we have a great opportunity before us to create a broader definition of wealth. Get busy creating yours!