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Are the Jonses really happier?

November 1, 2012

A while back, I was riding in a car with someone who was having a less than perfect day. I asked them what was wrong. They said they were feeling a little resentful that their friend seemed to “have it all”. His friend has a great family, a great home, a vacation home (with a tennis court and zip line in the backyard), a “man-cave” type lodge/garage separate from their main summer home, cars, snowmobiles, bikes, the latest gadget of any category, access to the best wines, and lots more stuff stuff stuff. My friend felt he deserved to have the same. He worked just as hard, had many of the same friends, connections, and had equal amounts of business savvy. On that day, he felt resentful that he had to struggle more, work more hours to get what he wanted, and their friend seemed to have an effortless luxurious lifestyle.

This conversation happened a couple of years back, and while I was surprised that my friend wasn’t content with what he had at that moment, I did mention that he had no idea what that guy really had to go through to not only buy, but maintain all that shit.

I zip lined at Mr. “have it all’s”  place this past summer and to be honest, it was kind of anti-climactic. It would exhaust me to think about all the bills he has to pay and people he has to hire to maintain all that crap. The electric bill alone would be staggering. If I could wave a magic wand and evaporate all his things, I don’t think this guy would be actually happier.

I think my friend had a brief moment of envy which is beautifully human, but truthfully he would never change shoes with this dude. He wouldn’t want all the responsibility of managing all those external things over and above a regular work day, which is exactly how I see it. More things = more management, upkeep, repair, payment, replacement, etc. In fact, my friend actually has a better sense of who he is than that other guy.

I can see that at first glance it all looks so perfect..until you get the bill in the mail.

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