Anyone remember the Sims game?
It is a strategic, life simulation video game series where the player (you or I) creates virtual people called “Sims” and places them in houses and helps direct their moods and satisfy their desires.
Now a-days there are all of these “additions” , but I used to play the original back in undergrad–spending countless hours hustling to make a few bucks, keep myself and my house clean, while keeping my friends, family, and myself happy. It was a struggle to do all of that, very frustrating at times, but it was super fun and addictive….that is until I learned there was a cheat that allowed me to increase my money at any time. When you entered in a certain code, your money would increase by thousands of dollars! Jackpot! Right?!?!
When I first found out, I was so ecstatic I felt like I won the real lottery! I could hardly sleep. I could build any house I wanted with all of the furniture I wanted. I didn’t have to work for measly dollars, life was great….or so I thought. Not too long after the newness of money wore off, and I had all sorts of new and expensive furniture in my houses (yes plural), I stopped playing the game altogether. It no longer excited me, so I moved on. Cold turkey.
So years later I am able to look back on my sudden change of heart with a game that I really really loved at one point to learn a very valuable lesson.
I never understood either, how rich celebrities could be so self centered and miserable. To be frank I would get quite annoyed. I would look at a bored Paris Hilton, the Kardashians, and numerous other folks that fit into that mold, (Mariah Carey and thousands of pairs of shoes?!?!? hello) and just shake my head. But now I get it. They are bored. They have the Sims “money cheat” so to speak and they don’t know what to do. The excitement of the money wears off and you have to find other ways to entertain yourself. (seems to me many of those ways of entertainment aren’t legal…but whatever…)
Now I am not one of those people who thinks money is bad, I think it tends to magnify the traits already present in a person—both good and bad. In most cases I think it is preferable to have money than not to. No apologies for that sentiment. (how can you help others if you have nothing to give?) But I do realize that as a society we tend to put too much emphasis on money, the influence and privilege it provides, and how we can get more of all three.
So when I am tempted to complain thinking if I just had more money things would be better/different— I try to think about what I am really asking for. I don’t want the money, I’d like peace of mind (and maybe a long vacation, like 2 years long :))
While money does make things more convenient, it doesn’t erase the hardships of life. Although the hustle of working everyday, be it out of the home or with children in the home, is sometimes super frustrating, it is a necessary function to keep us humans from becoming bored.
Just for a few moments I had what I thought I wanted with the Sims cheat–unlimited funds, access to the best houses, cars and lifestyle but I quickly became bored. Interesting, eh?
Stay hungry for progress and accomplishments, but never lose sight of the ultimate reasons for life. Service to others, peace, etc.