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Pick Today to be Happy…

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I went to a baby shower for a woman I work with.

And yes, I know I ended the above sentence with a preposition but sometimes, ending sentences with prepositions is the only way to not sound like Yoda.

Anyway – She is upper management and comes from a wealthy family. It didn’t cross her mind that, in a company full of employees who have been on a salary freeze for two years, it’s inappropriate to ask for six car seats. Yes. Six.

Heck, it’s probably inappropriate in any crowd.

She said she needed one for each of her cars… and then threw in that she needed six cars because she has six houses.

Financially, she’s where I want to be. Wait… she’s way past where I want to be. But the reality is, she keeps talking about being ‘happy tomorrow’. She’ll be happy when ‘this’ happens or happy when ‘that’ happens. Those things come and go yet her anger and resentment stay.

I wanted to shake the unhappy look off her face and scream ‘Lady! You’ve got money, a husband, and a healthy baby. What are you waiting for to be happy?!?!’

Hmm.

What am I waiting for to make me happy? Will being debt free be the one thing that puts a permanent grin on my face?

I know the answer to that and yet I still place my happiness in tomorrow.

Perhaps that’s something I need to work on.


23 Comments

  • Reply Jen |

    Well, if she has six cars for six houses, then that’s her business… But, I think it’s REALLY tacky to have a baby shower at work. Although I suppose someone else organized it, but still.

    I think there’s something about human nature that has us constantly looking for the next big thing. And I suspect this woman has so much materially because she hasn’t really figured out what will truly make her happy, so she fills that void with stuff. Sad.

    And I think lots of us, myself included, need to be more mindful of and thankful for what we already have, instead of looking for the next big thing.

  • Reply DCS |

    Be careful about assuming “Financially, she’s where I want to be.” Anyone can live check to check (and be unhappy because of it). It doesn’t matter how big the checks are. For all you know, her level of net worth could be only slightly higher than her level of modesty.

  • Reply Cynthia |

    I think we all fall into the “tomorrow” trap. Some people have gratitude journals where they write down every day what they’re grateful for. I think that helps keep people in the now. Those worries and stresses are always there though. I struggle with it too.

  • Reply Georgie |

    A long time ago, my motto became “Happiness is a decision you make, not something you wait to happen to you.”

    It’s followed closely by “Enjoy life for what it is, now. Enjoy it for what it becomes, later.”

  • Reply Abigail |

    This is a good point to remember. I’m very good at getting in the mindset of “Once we get past this hurdle…” But the fact is that Tim and I will always struggle a little. Well, it’s almost certain. So I am trying to learn from his impulsiveness the way he learns from my anal-retentive spending, that it’s important to enjoy “now” a little and not always live for tomorrow.

    I also feel the need to say: Who in the hell can’t transfer a car seat? And the cars/houses thing makes no sense! She has to get to the house by car, right? So why can’t she drive the same one away? Brain… melting… may… explode…

    PS. If you have six cars and six houses, you don’t have a baby shower, at least not one from your employees. You ask them to make a donation in the baby’s name to a charity of their choosing or something. Sheesh.

    PPS. Congrats on remembering the preposition rule. One of my favorite quotes ever is from Winston Churchill, “Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.”

  • Reply Dogfood Provider |

    The preposition rule is outmoded. Newer editions of the Chicago Manual of Style (at least since the 14th, which is the last one I bought) have said as much.

    Your coworker is a tactless spendthrift — or at least that’s my impression.

  • Reply John DeFlumeri Jr |

    I’ll take your suggestion and “choose to be happy today”. You always make sense, Beks!

    John DeFlumeri Jr

  • Reply Manda |

    Wow she has SIX houses, and still felt it necessary to ask other people to buy stuff for her baby? If you can afford six houses and six cars, you can afford to buy your own damn carseats. How tacky.

  • Reply Anonymous |

    I think it’s hilarious that she “needs” six cars because she has six houses. Isn’t the point of cars that they are mobile? How is she getting from house to house?
    Anyway, I know that was not the point of your great post, but it’s the first thought that jumped to my mind. I’d have trouble going to that baby shower because I’d be afraid I’d burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.

  • Reply emmi |

    I know I ended the above sentence with a preposition

    That rule was invented by underemployed 16th century Latin teachers. It has never had anything to do with English, really. Plus, English is a living language, “mutate away” is my motto (and it brings me happiness to have that motto for my language).

    Set yourself up to trigger a mental review every time you find yourself thinking that “as soon as X happens I’ll be happier” so that you remember what you are happy for now. Reward yourself more, too, you deserve it. Not with things that cost money, with time to stop and think, and watch the world a bit.

  • Reply Phaedra |

    Love the Yoda reference…very funny. It is very true that money will never buy us happiness. You only have to turn on the television and see how terribly happy the super rich can be. That’s why I’m glad I’m broke! Kidding…but we need to sit back and enjoy our the ride a bit more instead of waiting to get to our destination. That is something I am working on every day.

    As for the baby shower…I like the suggestion of having a shower and donating to a charity. That would have been fun and respectful and she could have had a super fancy, six car seat baby shower with her weathlier circle of friends.

  • Reply Jean |

    Great post – thanks for the reminder that we need to live in the moment & be thankful for what we have while planning for the future.

  • Reply Diane |

    I think your “uppermanagement” coworker is an example of a pathetic and sad human being, excess is the new hip and cool even in this sagging economy, and especially in your age group. The haves and the have nots is how you should have titled your blog, and yes, Jen- commenter, it is every one’s business for the woman made it her business. I volunteer at a Food Bank in south of Denver with the same kind of attitudes as your coworker (surprisingly enough, 75% of the population are recent Californian transplants that sold their small SoCal home for mega dollars and bought 6-7,000 sq ft homes for $500,000+.
    What I see at the Food Bank is a 80% decrease in private individual donations. We average 150 new clinets per week, and if not for donations from Target and stimulus money, we would not be able to provide food. Our clients can only get food for 7 days/3 meals per week per month! We help with utilities shutoffs and provide $250 one time only in rent assistance. We are seeing many more families that have homes in foreclosure.
    If your aspiration is to be in that women’s fiancial situation-bragging about owning 6 homes, requiring 6 car seats at a shower than I think this blog is the wrong place for you. Uppermanagement? Why is she working and taking a perfectly good salary from someone whose spouse has been laid off for months and at risk for losing their home, like thousands of educated people in San Diego. The flaunting of the haves woman to you little serfs at her baby shower, looking down on all of you from “upper management” position making her feel superior to you all, and as you commented, made you want her material things and lifestyle as well. Do you think you would have been fired if you didn’t pony up a car seat or some other extravagent baby gift? I know at the Food Bank, my pregnant clients are ecstatic to have used baby clothing, but don’t need a car seat because they can’t afford a car! I think that kind of behavior of your coworker should be called on the rug, that is what I do now. It is amazing how many people love to flaunt what they have materially to the have nots, San Diego is a city on the edge, many more do not “have” soon they might start looking to what they can “take”.

  • Reply Jen |

    DCS makes a very good point. Just because she’s living large doesn’t mean she has a large bank account. It could mean she outrageously overextended on credit cards! In other words, her net worth may be lower than yours! 🙂

    Bankrate.com has an interview with an author who wrote The Millionaire Next Door (I think). He said that many people buy expensive cars, etc., not because they’re wealthy but because they want to be wealthy. Yes, some high net worth people buy high end cars, but the majority of people who buy the BMW’s, etc., don’t have a high net worth. Meanwhile, the most popular car owned by actual millionaires is a Toyota (and I’m assuming am modest Toyota).

    As we all know, th real key to wealth is spending less than you earn.

  • Reply Nicole |

    Hey, just be glad that you have a smile on your face everyday whether or not you have 6 cars : ) Who wants to pay for the insurance on all of those cars and houses anyway? Surely not I!

    She can keep her fancy houses and you can have your adoring husband and decreasing debt. Funny post Beks : )

  • Reply John |

    Materialism not make one great. You are absolutely right. She should have plenty to be happy about. My wife and have been struggling with infertilty for the last 3 years and would love to buy just one car seat much less six. People who continue to look for something to make them happy are just trying to fill a void. They keep buying and buying, but they are never satisfied. The trick is to find what truly makes you happy. Once you find it, money and material things won’t matter.

  • Reply NYGIRL |

    Beks..even though you are struggling financially right now with the unemployment issue, I’d venture to guess most readers would rather be YOU than the boss with 6 houses. You GET it, she doesn’t. Happiness doesn’t come from “stuff”. Some of the BEST times my husband and I EVER had, were when we didn’t have two cents to our name.

  • Reply Clementine |

    Stumbled across your blog while searching through yahoo. I read the first paragraph and its fantastic! I don??t have time to read it all now, but I have bookmarked this site and will read the rest tonight. : )

  • Reply tami |

    Money doesn’t bring happiness. Some of my best memories were when my family was dirt poor.

    Watching the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills really drives home the idea that money doesn’t buy happiness.

So, what do you think ?