Growing up, I remember times when the lights went out in our apartment. It wasn’t because of any power outage or something wrong with the wiring in the very old building that we lived in. It was because we didn’t have the money to pay Con Edison. This wasn’t the first time it happened. I remember times when the cable had to go off for a month or two, or the phone, and even some times we couldn’t manage the rent. Although I was young, I remember feeling frustrated at times that my family was so less fortunate, monetary-wise, but I can’t say that I felt poor.
There were moments when I felt like we were the richest family in the neighborhood. Those moments came when we had family game nights or when we all gathered in the living room to watch a show and busted out laughing at the same part. Even when the lights were out, I remember us gathering at night before going we went off to bed, with flashlights making jokes about ghosts and who was scared of the dark. My mother would laugh and joke with us and suddenly the dark wasn’t so bad. In those moments we weren’t worried about Con Edison or about the money we didn’t have.
I share these stories with you because sometimes you might feel like you lack abundance because your finances aren’t where you’d like them to be. However, I challenge you to reflect on your happiest memories. Do any of them involve you making a purchase? Or is it a moment that you laugh so hard at something your grandma did that you were about to pee on yourself?
In actuality, your abundance doesn’t always reflect in your bank account. There are instances when you don’t think about money or material things because you’re so enthralled in a happy moment with people that you love. Those are the moments that you’re experiencing the best type of abundance that the world has to offer. This isn’t a call to action to quit your job and try to pay your bills with your happiest memories. That would be terrible advice.
But, whenever we feel like we’re in a state of lack, we tend to focus all of our energy on the thing, or things, that we don’t have. We put those things in the center of our world. In the midst of focusing on what you don’t have, you can miss out on the real riches in your life. Yes, 100 million dollars could’ve helped us pay the light bill but it couldn’t buy the memory of us making the best of what could’ve been a terrible experience. Plus, financial abundance usually means a large amount your time needs to be spent creating that abundance, which mathematically means less time available to experience the real abundance (unless you hit the lottery. In that case, congratulations, for being one of the luckiest people in the world!)
In all seriousness though, take some time, at least once a week, to sit and focus on all that you do have. It could be the phone call you get from your sister in Seattle every week or the traditional game night that you have with your friends that always ends with someone getting a little too drunk and flipping the monopoly board. It could also be something that you do alone, like the time you take to sit in the park in the morning to read your favorite book and drink your coffee. Some of us are richer than we can ever imagine but because we focus on what we don’t have we make ourselves feel broke and less fortunate.
A wise Black Woman once told me:
If you want to feel rich think about all that you have that money can’t buy.