You want more money, but things never work out right. Until one day they do. For the first time in your adult life, you can look at your bank account without your stomach twisting into knots. Now what? Now that you have more resources, you’ve taken on a bigger mortgage, a whopping car payment. Now your family depends on you to help out with medical bills. So you worry about losing what you’ve gained. To be really financially secure, you should probably set a little more aside each month–but how are you going to manage that with Aunt Gina’s surgery coming up, and don’t forget that your property taxes are crazy high now and . . .
6 months. Studies show that’s how long you enjoy the Next Big Thing. Huge promotion, getting married, new house, moving to a more exciting location, nicer car, healthier romantic partner, recovering from major illness. Whatever the significant improvement, you’ve adjusted to it 6 months later. Win the Mona Lisa in a lottery, put it up in your living room. 6 months later, you’re not even seeing it. Might as well be Dogs Playing Poker.
Everyone suffers. You, me, your next door neighbor, Brad and Angelina. You suffer when you don’t get what you want. You suffer when you do get what you want, but then fear losing it. Wanting, getting, losing. The cycle is endless, and none of us is immune to it. No matter how hard the hamster tries, the hamster wheel never arrives at its destination. Peace of mind isn’t in the getting, the accomplishing, the winning, the improving. Peace of mind comes from realizing there is no such thing as “enough.” Because enough is always on its way to becoming “just a little more, please.”
When you watch this cycle playing out again and again, in your career, your relationships, you realize how much mental and emotional energy you expend pursuing flimsy rewards. Go ahead and build your sand castle anyway–just remember it’s a sand castle. No matter how deluxe you make it, no matter how comprehensive your castle-owner’s insurance coverage, it’s still going to get washed away. This isn’t a Cosmic Mistake. This is the natural rhythm of life. Coming . . . going . . . coming . . . going . . . Why focus on the sand castle when you are the tide itself?
About the Author: James Robbins is a licensed professional counselor, published author and co-owner of Dallas Whole Life Counseling. He has over 15 years of experience helping people in various life stages that come from a wide variety of cultural, economic and family backgrounds. Learn more about his background by clicking here.