What Makes Us Envious?

I deeply regret missing the City barbecue last night because I know how hard many people worked to make it happen.  It also sounds like those who attended had a great time despite the heat.  I think I became dehydrated yesterday due to the combined effects of a virus and a really hot day, and I seem to be recovering today.

My brief illness gave me the opportunity to watch some television with my wife, who likes HGTV as much as I enjoy sports.  I wasn’t able to protest much in my weakened condition, so the TV stayed tuned to her channel through the evening.

The first show we watched was called something like “Million Dollar Rooms,” and it featured homes of very rich people who decided to invest some piece of their earnings to create elaborate settings within their houses.  The first profiled room was a “bar” set in a “rustic lodge” in Colorado.  The owner liked antique gaming devices, so he’d filled the space with old but fully restored slot machines, pool tables, card tables, and, of course, an incredibly ornate, fully stocked bar.  A framed original battle flag from Gettysburg adorned the wall over the stacked liquor bottles.

Room Number Two recreated a tropical paradise, complete with a large waterfall, pool, tropical plants, fruit trees, and other amenities that put the rustic lodge to shame.  I think we were told this room cost about $10 million.  Features of a room with a huge aquarium and a full-size gym, including a two-story waterslide, closed out the show.

I do not consider myself to be an envious person, and I accept the fact that some people are really good at making money.  I don’t drink and I don’t gamble, aside from an occasional lunch bet with the city attorney; so I didn’t find the first Million Dollar Room very appealing.  I did like the tropical paradise, and it’s good to know where I can invest $10 million the next time I have it.  According to U.S.News.com, a person with my level of education can expect to earn something over $2.6 million during the course of a 40-year career; and I’m a little more than three-quarters of the way there after my first 37 years.

While I know I will never have $10 million, I am very grateful for what I have earned and for the lifestyle it has afforded my family.  The number of financially wealthy people in the world is very small; and according to some sources, if your household makes more than $50,000 annually, you are wealthier than 99 percent of the world’s population.

Envy of someone else’s rooms and riches will do nothing to enrich me and is more likely to cost me happiness that can’t be measured in money.  I think I will avoid “Million Dollar Rooms” in the future and take satisfaction from my family, faith, friends, job, and whatever I can do to make the world a slightly better place.