An old friend of mine posted something on Facebook that made me stop and think, and write.
She has had a long and interesting, but not always easy life. She married the bright young man she met in college, supported him through medical school, started a family. She lived a rich life, full of material trappings, a huge house, fancy cars, nice furniture, and clothes. When she was about 50, she came home to an empty house with a for sale sign in the front yard. The doctor left her for a 20-something, he planned it out so he appeared broke, she got next to nothing. She moved, went to work as social director in an income based housing community (how I met her) and worked her way through earning a masters degree. She worked for a few more years, and then found herself approaching 70 and downsized out of a job at the same time she was being treated for lung cancer. Because she hadn't worked for so many years of her adult life, her income is modest. She is now living a community similar to the one she worked in. She has grown sons who adore her, a dog that she loves, and fills her days with gardening, reading, writing (she had a book published a couple of years ago) and spending time with her friends.
The thing that triggered her Facebook posting, was a comment by one of her old friends from her days as a doctor's wife, about being poor in retirement. She pointed out that she leads a happy and fulfilling life. She may need to say, I can't buy that, or I can't go on that trip, but she leads a rich life. She is surrounded by things she likes and does things that she finds valuable and rewarding.
Success in life is not about what we have, it is about what we do. She does what she finds value in. More material possessions would not improve her quality of life. She would sooner have the love of her sons, her dog (not necessarily in that order) and fun with her friends than money in a loveless marriage. She has a rich life.
I hope I grow to be more like her as I age.