The first thing to realize is that the best things in life, a walk by the river, a drink of cool clear water, an awesome day at the beach, are not free, but do cost your investment in connecting with others to create and preserve, and enjoy, these kinds of things. You can create a happy family, by realizing these values, and acting upon them.
Appreciating the abundance of human, and nature’s bounty, by way of connecting to all of it, is the key to happiness.
Having money is no cure for unhappiness. In fact, many rich people are very unhappy indeed. They are more likely to have to sacrifice the value of human connection, and the beauty of the world itself, in exchange for their drive to make money. This in itself is isolating, alienating, and very likely to be supported by pharmaceutical and/or addictive coping mechanisms. Monetary success often has a very high price.
Being poor is not a bed of roses, either. Being poor, is for most of us, a subjective quality, actually. If you have basic needs of food, shelter, water, and companionship met, you may or may not consider yourself “poor”. But do you consider yourself happy?
Being happy is not a smile plastered upon your face twenty four hours a day. What happiness, in this context consists of, is meaningful connections to your internal and external integrity, and the inter dependence you gain from appreciating your loved ones, community, and the greater, beautiful world around you.
Many rich people are workaholics, and have come to equate success with financial security. But the sad reality created is that there is never enough to fill the hole in the soul this craving cycle creates. Key relationships are not nurtured, and fall into disrepair. Time for enjoying all one has worked for, is taken up by unexpected maintenance upon the very objects we work so hard to obtain. Homes and lawns are notorious suspects. Jobs and cars are also very demanding.
Lots and lots of gadgets, also take time away from noticing the hills, the birds, the flowers and more. Even quality time with loved ones is greatly enhanced by the simple act of mere presence. Distraction, then, our ever bleeping being “wired” is one enemy to happiness. Go outside with your children, friends, or special loved ones, and really talk and be there for one another. Do not take your cell phone!
Some truly wonderful things to do include spending time out of doors.. An entire afternoon upon a hillside watching the sky overhead has great value. Sit, or walk, upon a beach and just notice the gulls, the waves, the sand and its miracles, the tide pools, and more. Make a special picnic and really savor all the ingredients, as well at the setting. Take time to help a local animal orphanage, the connection to other living creatures, is extremely healthy, and allows your compassion to be seen as a fragment of your happiness.
There are really more things to do at little or no cost, than are possible to list, the point is, you can resourcefully tap into creating such connection and moments yourself with just a bit of remembering the fondest days of childhood. Were they in a forest, or on a mountain trail? Did you stroll along a stream bed, or perhaps a glade or meadow? Chances are fondest memories are in these kinds of settings, and most of all free from all bleeping distractions.
Free time is a luxury much more common to the poor. Having very little, or nothing, also means having nothing to lose, and this is a kind of freedom.
Balance between these two extremes is what is sorely lacking in most human society. The gap between very rich and desperately poor is getting wider in the western world where greed and development are taught to be virtuous rather than destructive.
Connect your mind to the reality of how you appreciate the world and gifts of life, and you will never be far from happiness.