Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.
My friends said they're poor, while we ate in a good restaurant, talking about our extensive travels. Yes, they have their basic needs met and save diligently for each trip. But, they're far from poor. I pointed out that the poorest people I know really don't know how they'll save for next week's meals. They struggle between homelessness and paying rent. So, my friends said that they believe that no one ever feels that he has enough money.
That comment reminded me of my immigrant friends from the old Soviet Bloc teaching me that true wealth is measured by one's satisfaction with what one has. They were satisfied, and wealthy in that respect, in lean times and plush times, adjusting their desires and expectations according to their means.
Then, I thought of my really well-off friends with a lifestyle lavish compared to average people and modest for their means, who said that wealth is having "a million more than you have." They said that 20 years ago, when a million dollars was like 5 million or more now.
However, the wealthiest family I know is that of my cleaning lady and her husband, a factory worker, and their 13 children. All of the children are loving, warm, kind, smart, healthy, studious, responsible, hard-working, fun-loving and good-looking. The oldest have graduated from college, married well and pay for camp and other benefits for the youngest. The family has scattered around the State but gets together for all holidays and lots of family celebrations. They consider themselves blessed and happy. That's wealth.