Here we are, in the sophisticated age of 2023, where AI has conquered social media, our smartphones are now smarter than us, cars are driving themselves, and yet we still find ourselves pondering this ancient riddle. It’s as if the ghost of Socrates himself is mocking us from beyond the grave. “Happiness, eh? Money, eh?” he chuckles, chomping on a grape.
Okay, so you’re having a lousy day. Your dog chewed up your favorite shoes, your car has a flat tire, and your boss decided that giving you a raise was about as appealing as the annual audit from the IRS. But wait, you’ve got a credit card! Swipe that magical piece of plastic and voila, happiness awaits you at the other end of an Amazon Prime delivery. Seriously, who needs the affection of a slobbering pooch or the respect of your boss when you can buy that 75-inch, 8K Ultra HD, LED TV?
Yet, some philosophical killjoys might argue, “Money can’t buy happiness.” Gibberish, I say! Surely, they must be mistaken. I mean, have they seen the look on someone’s face when they found that extra curly fry at the bottom of their McDonald’s bag? That, my friends, is pure joy. And fries, last time I checked, ain’t free.
Of course, I get the argument against money buying happiness. Let’s face it; money can also buy a lot of headaches. For every fancy yacht you purchase, there’s a sneaky iceberg ready to tear it apart. For every diamond necklace, there’s a possible diamond heist waiting to happen. And don’t get me started on tax audits.
But money buys choices. Ever sat on a cheap plastic chair that gave you a permanent waffle imprint on your backside? Money lets you choose a comfy, ergonomic chair that massages your back as you sit. Doesn’t that sound like happiness? Or how about the choice between eating a can of sardines for dinner or dining at a Michelin-star restaurant where the waiter describes the food with more adjectives than a lovesick poet?
Yet, we can’t be blind to the non-financial joys in life. The laughter of a loved one, the feeling of finishing a good book, the exhilaration of a morning jog. These, too, bring happiness, and they are as free as the air we breathe. But wouldn’t it be just a tad bit nicer to laugh with your loved ones in a grand mansion, finish a good book in your personal library, or jog around the block in designer workout clothes? Money can’t replace these joys, but it can certainly make them more… shall we say, enjoyable?
Perhaps we’re asking the wrong question here. Instead of asking if money can buy happiness, shouldn’t we be asking if money can rent happiness? After all, isn’t that what we’re doing every time we buy a concert ticket, or that cute outfit that makes us feel like a million bucks? I mean, the concert ends, the outfit goes out of style, but the happy memories we get to keep.
Still, there’s no denying the little ironies of life. Like how your newly bought Ferrari can’t make it to your favorite burger joint’s drive-thru because it’s too low. Or how your three-story mansion can’t host a family gathering because everyone’s too busy arguing over who gets the master suite.
Happiness is a complex creature, isn’t it? One minute, it’s dancing in the lush fields of material goods, and the next, it’s seeking solace in the simpler things in life, like watching a sunset or enjoying a steaming cup of homemade soup. This elusive, often confounding state of being simply refuses to be pinned down by the number of zeroes in your bank account.
Sure, having a personal butler like Alfred from Batman might make you happy. But then again, having a personal butler also means having someone witness you devour an entire pizza by yourself at 2 a.m., and that’s certainly a check in the “embarrassing” column, not the “happy” one.
And let’s not forget, while money can buy a magnificent bed with silky sheets and goose down pillows, it can’t buy a good night’s sleep. That usually comes from having peace of mind, which is often disturbed by worries over keeping said bed, silky sheets, and goose down pillows. Talk about a Catch-22.
Does this mean that money is useless when it comes to happiness? Well, not quite. Money, after all, can get you a nice cold beer at the end of a hot day, and if that doesn’t equate to a moment of happiness, I don’t know what does. It can also pay for the internet connection that lets you enjoy cat videos, online shopping, and yes, even my article.
But here’s the kicker: money can’t buy love, it can’t buy time, and it definitely can’t buy the ability to dance if you have two left feet. There are countless things money can’t buy, and a lot of them do contribute to happiness in their own weird and wonderful ways.
So, can money buy happiness? As your humble friend, I say it can, but there’s a bit of a twist. Money can certainly purchase elements of happiness, offer glimpses of joy, provide moments of pleasure, but it doesn’t own the patent to happiness.
After all, happiness is not a shiny object you can buy off a shelf. It’s more like a DIY project. A little bit of love here, a dash of purpose there, throw in some good health, sprinkle some fun and fulfillment on top, and voila! You’ve got yourself a happiness cake. And the best part? You can’t put a price tag on it.
In the end, the relationship between money and happiness is like that of a celebrity couple. They make headlines together, they break up, they make up, and they keep us guessing. But one thing is clear. While money can buy a lot of things, the keys to the happiness car aren’t one of them.
So go ahead, enjoy that extra curly fry, cherish that fancy yacht, and laugh your way through this complicated, confusing, and utterly entertaining life. Just remember, your happiness doesn’t have a price tag, and that’s something even your credit card can’t swipe away.