“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.” Wilkins Micawber (David Copperfield)
I suppose you can sum the philosophy up as “enough is enough”. The difference for Micawber is just a shilling. The difference for me is just a few plastic bags. Fifty bags are good, a hundred would be too many and I would start to worry about waste and storage. In general this seems to be the way. Research on lottery winners suggests that large amounts of money aren’t enough to make you happy as you adjust to having it.
That’s a great comfort to me for a number of reasons, including, I admit, envy. I can take a certain amount of pleasure from the idea that the rich aren’t happier than I am, and derive satisfaction from the knowledge that, no matter how much money I may have, this is as good as it gets (in other words, working harder would have made me richer but not happier).
Unfortunately, in my quest for knowledge, I looked up more links and found this research . It seems that lottery winners can be happy, though this one doesn’t seem overly cheered by their million pound win. Some people are never satisfied.
A million pounds would come in handy, and I’m sure I could handle it. I certainly wouldn’t sue anyone for giving me a million. But in truth, I don’t need it, and I can do without it. This is all part of the thinking I’ve been doing whilst sitting round healing.
Obviously I’ve concluded that health is more important than money, and that Julia has a price far above rubies, as Proverbs tells us. Well, it does in the King James version, more modern versions say jewels or precious stones, which is not the same at all. Whoever used rubies (and it may well have been Shakespeare) knew how to select his words.
Whilst watching daytime TV I’ve also seen plenty of adverts for charities and learned to appreciate access to clean water, the NHS and a fridge full of food. Then there’s the electricity to run the fridge, the road to the shops and the roof over my head.
It’s amazing how much we have, what we take for granted.
To be fair, though it does provide the above lessons, I probably could give up daytime TV.
We may see the small Value God has for Riches, by the People he gives them to.” — Alexander Pope (1727)