Am I wealthy? (Part 1)

Ca-ching! That’s what I hear when I think of the word “wealthy.”

In my mind, I hear money dropping into my piggy bank—lots of it, over and over again, like a Las Vegas casino. I see mountains of gold coins and spoils for me to swim in, like Uncle Scrooge.

But the more I dive into the depths of the next version of myself and drop the labels I’ve been carrying, I realize I’ve had it all wrong.


You’re on a boat, stranded in the middle of the sea. (Tiger companion Richard Parker not included.) You float on the waves until you come across a deserted island. When you come up to the shore, you find a treasure chest full of jewels, gold coins and other swag that could add up to hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions.

How do you feel?

Rich! Triumphant! On top of the world! Like Donald Trump standing atop his empire!

And then very, very lonely.

Your celebratory theme song fades to a much more somber tune. As it plays in the background, you realize…

“What good is all this treasure if I can’t enjoy it—and have no one to enjoy it with?”


That desert island scene is exactly what Alan Watts writes about in an essay on the difference between money and wealth. Watts argues they’re different, despite society trying to convince us that they’re one and the same. He explains:

By contrast with money, true wealth is the sum of energy, technical intelligence, and raw materials.”

Could it be?

Waiting in line at the bank, I pulled out my notebook and drew out how each of those elements stacks up in my own life. The conclusion?

While the amount of cash I’ve had in my coffers has wavered over the years, the other elements Watts mentions have skyrocketed. My physical energy, technical know-how, and self-awareness (the best raw material I know of) is more than I could ever ask for.

For example…

Over the past few months, I’ve been prepping my business for my time off. Our first baby is only weeks away (maybe days?), and my inner Doer and Achiever has ramped up in preparation of my upcoming dedicated-baby-time.

At the same time, two curious things have happened:

  1. I’ve deepened my journey into the spiritual and religious parts of my heart.
  2. I’ve been approached by numerous non-profits who need my business’s services but aren’t able to pay the full fees.

Are they connected? Is it meant to be? Should I accept these clients? Hell yes!

Why?

I’ll take a pay cut, sure—but it won’t decrease my wealth.

I don’t have a mountain of money to dive into like Uncle Scrooge, but I’m not complaining. Right now, my wealth consists of:

  • A healthy mind, body, and soul
  • A wonderful family life
  • A thriving creative environment

As long as working with these non-profits doesn’t affect the wealth I hold dear, there’s no reason I shouldn’t experiment.

The right decisions are those that increase our wealth—not just our monetary profit.

Which got me thinking…

If wealth is different than money, can it increase like money can? Is there a way to become even wealthier?

I’ll dive into that in my next post… Stay tuned!

I’d love to hear your take on this:

Do you consider yourself wealthy? Why or why not?
What differentiates the money and wealth in your life?
Are money and wealthy really so different or is Watts exaggerating?

 

Wishing you awesomeness from a café in Managua,

— Marcella

PS. Are you on Instagram? I’d love to connect over there! Feel free to follow me on Instagram if you’re into dorky pictures of puppies, laptops, and fun quotes. :-]