I'm reading Women and Money by Suze Orman, and even though I feel like I'm not one of her typical readers (she goes on and on about how women need to stop giving when they have nothing to give. I've learned that lesson. Next!), she asks an important question: what does a "rich" life look like to you?
To me, a rich life means quality relationships. I've never been one of those people with 4,000 acquaintances. We're either friends, or we aren't. I'm friendly to everyone I pass, but unless we have a real connection, I don't have time for you in my life. This has served me well in some ways. Sometimes I will enter a friendship, and it will go well for awhile. Then, at some point, it turns toxic, either by my own doing or by someone elses. Inevitably, I will pull away and cut the person from my life.
Desiring quality relationships has also been hard at times. For example, I've moved back to my home town, but I can't seem to find any friends. I'm probably being too picky, but I don't want to waste my time hanging out with people that I have to "act fake" around. It can be lonely.
So, for me to feel like I have a rich life, I would need to have 3-5 close friends. I had those close friends in college, but we've all moved to different parts of the country. It's not like I can go grab a cup of coffee with one of them on the weekends. Slowly but surely, I'm building up my friend base here. In the meantime, I've been bettering my relationship with my husband. I figure investing time with your spouse can never be a bad thing.
I would also like to be able to give my money freely to those who need it, be it family or friends or complete strangers, without breaking the bank. Mr. J and I were talking about how we'd like to be able to pay for our kid's college in full when the time comes. Of course, we don't have any kids yet, but before we started paying off debt, we imagined that we would only be able to pay for a year or two. Since I've started this debt payoff, I've realized that with some good planning I can provide an education to my kids. I want to be able to donate more than $100 at a time to my college. I'd love to donate a chunk of money to the library. Currently I can't do that, but one day I hope to have the financial freedom to give.
And finally, a rich life to me would be one of travel. I've only been out of the country once, and I desperately want to go to new places. I'd love to visit (in this order) Greece, Ireland, Spain, Australia, and Hawaii (even though technically it's a part of the country). I've watched people around me sit in front of the television their whole lives, which is fine if that's what they like to do, but to me it's such a waste of life. I want to dance, eat exotic food, hike up a mountain.
In the meantime, I'll occupy myself with escapist books and episodes of Teen Mom. But one day in the near future, I'm going to cancel my cable and stop reading about other people's adventures because I'll have the money to have my own soul-searching, life-changing adventure.