“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life” Henry David Thoreau
I had so many ideas for the letter W, but my mind kept coming back to the concept of wealth.
When I graduated from university in 1979 and moved to Toronto to begin my career, I didn’t know anyone. I felt like an outsider who didn’t fit in and was really lonely.
One sunny fall day as I was walking aimlessly around, I passed a storefront for a fortune teller. On impulse, I went in. I don’t remember much beyond the dark, little room I was escorted into, but there were 3 things I was told that day I would never forget.
The first was that I would marry only once. I would have 2 sons and, while I would never be wealthy, I would have a comfortable life.
Over the years I’ve reflected occasionally on those 3 things. So far I would say she was correct about the first prediction – and even the second one, although over the years we’ve *adopted* several more sons – but she was dead wrong about the third.
I’ve discovered that wealth is not something that’s measured purely by the number in a bank account. Wealth comes from the heart.
My first lesson on that subject came in 1986 when Gilles and I had bought our first home – a small rundown “fixer-upper”. It was a horrible little place … we lived in a constant cloud of drywall and plaster dust as Gilles developed his handyman skills.
One evening as we sat on the front step of our money-pit eating watermelon with our young son, Gilles declared he felt like the richest man in the world. I looked at him like he had suddenly developed a second head … but he really meant it.
Gilles had never lived in a house. He grew up on the second floor of a small walk-up apartment and from there moved between various apartments. From his perspective – sitting on the front step of his first house with a wife and son – his life was grand.
A few years later we then made a very deliberate decision to collect memories and experiences rather than ‘stuff’. We invested heavily in travel, ‘doing things’, and cultivating friendships.
The result has been riches beyond my wildest dreams. I have the deep love and support of my family, strong and loyal friendships, and the many adventures we’ve enjoyed.
The bounty of my wealth is staggering.
Even better … I know it’s just going to continue to grow.
Thank you for visiting me today. Hope you’ll enjoy some Waffles … in a variety of toppings.