July 15, 2020
The word “rich” has several definitions in the English language. Below are a few of many:
- Having abundant possessions and especially material wealth
- Magnificently impressive
- Meaningful or significant
- Vivid and deep in color
- Full and mellow in tone and quality
- Highly seasoned, fatty, oily, or sweet
I often hear #1 used to describe people and #6 to describe food. One of these usages makes sense to me, while the other seems to miss the mark.
Let’s start with food. When describing a dish that is full of flavors and aromas, it seems reasonable to label it as rich. When each bite acts as a vessel for unfathomable flavor, and simply smelling the dish makes your mouth begin to water, rich seems to be the perfect adjective.
It’s when the word rich is used to describe human beings that I often get confused. Why have we decided that having an abundance of stuff (money, cars, houses, etc.) qualified someone as being rich? What if an individual has all these things, but experiences an incredibly bland and flavorless existence? If their days are not vivid and deep in color and their lives are not meaningful and significant, how can we possibly describe them as being rich?
We owe it to future generations to redefine what being rich actually means. Having an abundance of stuff as a bi-product of a job, family, or other circumstance, does not make someone rich; it simply means they have a lot of material possessions. In order to make any determination of personal riches, we must look at the quality of someone’s relationships and the lens through which they experience the world. We must investigate their attitude towards living and measure the vigor and enthusiasm they bring into the world each day. Rich people are those who are in love with their life, irrespective of the number of zeroes in their bank account. They lead lives full of love, laughter, excitement, and gratitude.
As a society we seem to have latched onto definition #1 and forgot about the rest of what being rich means. It is my hope that we begin to remember the other meanings and redefine what being rich looks like. As most of us strive to make it into the subset of the population labeled as rich, it’s important to know exactly what we are aiming for.