For as long as I can remember my grandmother, who recently passed away a few months shy of her 98th birthday, would always give thanks for each meal and a safe place to sleep each night. She was one of the happiest people I ever met in my life, even though she did not have much money or a high school degree. Her happiness was never tied to any material things– it was her family, friends and daily good deeds that brought her joy. It’s taken me years to appreciate the wisdom in her approach to life, but I’m so glad I get it now.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the rat race, and to always want the next coolest toy. Keeping up with the Joneses is a trap we can all easily fall into, often without realizing it. This is indeed the plan– for all of us to unwittingly come to think of things as necessities, and then we become endentured servants to others so that we can continue to maintain a certain lifestyle. The key question we must never forget to ask ourselves is what is the true cost to us? Everything has a price, so the important point to remember is that we need to carefully consider whether something is really worth that price.
There are a lot of things that seemed so important in my 20’s and 30’s that now looking back are just plain dumb. All the spas, shows, luxury hotels, fine dining, fancy clothes, cars, homes, trips, were all actually failed attempts to fill a void. While I do remain grateful for all of these experiences, these days I am far more appreciative for the things I used to take for granted– a good meal, a fantastic group of friends and family, and a safe place to crash at the end of the day.
My grandmother may not have left me anything tangible upon her death, but what she left behind was far more precious. She set a beautiful example for me of how one should live, and I am eternally grateful that her core values live on in me. When in doubt, her voice still soothes me and memories of her smiling console me. Gracias Abuela!
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.