Money does not buy happiness.

In a world where the number of people who have access to a cell phone is greater than the number of people who have access to a toilet, the important aspects of life can be easily forgotten. Life is not a measure of how much stuff we can acquire. I get so upset when I read about people who treat possessions as the necessities for a happy life. Celebrities are typically the most chronicled for this behavior, but it can happen to all of us.

Our culture makes shiny cars, designer clothes, and plastic-looking bodies seem like the ultimate goal that we should all try to achieve. I am here to argue that this superficial mindset is hazardous. What we should really be working towards is a happy, fulfilled life that is overflowing with love and family. When the focus turns to money, that lifestyle is threatened. Obsessing over money and new junk to buy leaves little time for anything else.

Too many people believe that having a ton of money and spending it frivolously makes them holier-than-thou. That attitude will never fly with me. Money does not buy happiness and if you have a large sum of money, please don’t go spending it on a $20,000 purse. Help out your family and friends, donate to a charity of your choice, build a park for the neighborhood kids, but please do not spend it on something that will sit in your closet or garage when you could be enriching lives. When will people realize that at the end of the day, the happiest people are those rich in love, faith, and hope? Do they have the most expensive car from the dealer or the most lavish parties? Probably not and they are okay with this. They know that life is about making memories and sharing time with people we love, taking chances, going on adventures, and much more.

The holiday season is supposed to be a season of giving. Yet, people can’t overcome this obsession with money. Newsflash: your neighbor, co-worker or friend could be struggling with how to spend cash just like the billionaire in the next town over. Only, while the billionaire can’t decide which diamond-encrusted car to purchase, your friend is trying to make ends meet so they can feed their family.

So, is it the billionaire’s fault that he or she has copious amounts of cash? Not really. That being said, I do believe that celebrities and billionaires could set better examples. They are in the limelight and people may try to emulate their behavior. I know that some people are very conscious about donating their time and money to those in need. I just hope that in the future more people take part in this humbling but beautiful gift.

This holiday season, enjoy time with your loved ones, help out at a soup kitchen, take care of animals at a shelter, and give a gift to someone less fortunate. People are losing hope in each other because we tend to forget that it is so much better to give than to receive. Give the gift of genuine laughter, community and love. These are the things that create a happy life. It is hard to not get caught up in the superficiality of our world, but when we do some soul-searching we will see that the best things in life can’t be bought with a credit card.

Oh and by the way! Happy first day of December!

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