Someone once asked me; If I could rub a magic lamp and have all the money in the world, would I do so? Once upon a time, I would have snatched the lamp from out of their hands. I would have rubbed it so frantically, I’d be drowning in a sea of money. These days, I’m not sure if I would rub the magic lamp at all.
Are you out of your mind? …I hear you cry.
The High Life Blues…
The thing is, I have never owned a lot of money. Despite struggling to keep my head above water, I have always accepted ‘that’s just the way life is’. I am no ‘material girl’. I don’t get heart palpitations when I see a Gucci handbag, nor does my heart skip a beat when I am cradling a pair of Louboutin’s. Do I like nice things? For sure, who doesn’t? Would I re-mortgage the house, so I can buy that Fox fur coat? Hell to the NO!
As my husband approaches a crossroads in his career, our lives might be about to dramatically change. One way is sign posted ‘The high life’, and the other is labelled ‘The holistic way of living’. He can choose to work for a big oil company, doing something that he doesn’t particularly find fulfilling. After all, this route will give us a better standard of living. Alternatively, he could choose to do something he is truly passionate about, but earn 10 times less, and thus, we keep struggling on.
Many people would snap at the hand that feeds them the most money, others would say “How kind of you to offer, but I’m going to chase my dreams”. There is no wrong turn, it’s purely a matter of money vs. passion. And when these two meet, it’s a truly beautiful thing. Fancy getting paid heaps of money to do something you are passion about? Now my eyes really are green with envy!
Oh, how the other half lives. Cruising down the streets in their sports car convertibles, hair flapping in the wind, lavishing in their rich fulfilled glory. Dining at the finest gourmet restaurants, only 5 Michelin stars would do! Caviar on tap, yes please! Oh, how the other half lives, walking the balconies of their multi-million-pound mansions. Are the wads of money getting you hot under the collar? Why not cool yourself off in your Olympic sized swimming pool? Oh, how the other half live…. Okay, okay that’s quite enough, the point has been made.
The stark contrast becomes clearer still, as I sit shivering in an ice cold house, eating my fifth microwave meal of the week, and anticipate climbing into the freezing cold shower. My boiler was leaking harmful gases, and therefore our gas supply has been cut off. Our untrustworthy landlord, whom refuses to do anything about it, has left us without the basics (Hot water/cooker/central heating). Cold and frustrated, the high life dream becomes ever more appealing.
Don’t you get sick of rubbing pennies together? Are you growing tired of waiting for £50 notes to fall from your trees? The sad truth is, it’s never going to happen. For those of us who weren’t fortunate to be born with a silver spoon in our mouth, this good life very much lies in the fortune of success, or luck. How many of us play the lottery? How many of us have already spent the money (we are totally going to win!) because our numbers are the lucky ones?
The ticket is scrunched, along with our dreams, as we realise we didn’t get one number…NOT ONE DAMN NUMBER! “I will definitely hit the jackpot next week, because that’s my lucky week”…we reassure ourselves, and so the high life dream lives on.
My husband and I, had a small taste of the high life, a few weekends ago. We booked in at the MAYFAIR, in London. Okay, so it was no penthouse suite…In fact, we were placed in the furthest possible room. The peasants room, if you will! Only, it was far from ‘the peasant’s’ room, in all its sparkling marbled glory, so shiny we could see our faces. A bed which could accommodate the population of a small country…Okay, maybe that was an exaggeration! As we sat on our thrones, guzzling champagne and scoffing chocolates so luxury they melt in our mouth, we thought to ourselves “Yeah, we could get used to this!”
I couldn’t fault the Mayfair. The staff were so friendly that by the end of the night we knew the complete life story of our waiter friend, Pedro. It was a truly wonderful experience, but as I tucked into our £100 meal, I couldn’t help but think “Geez, I could buy an entire food shop with that”. Surrounded by affluence and success, it’s hard not to catch a case of the green-eyed monster. Passers-by, literally frittering their money away as though it were water. I felt like scooping it all up in my hands, and saying “Can I just use this to pay my rent, please?”
The high life isn’t just in the banker’s belt of London, it’s all around us. Money signs are floating in almost every direction we turn. It’s hard to avoid the music video’s thrusting big expensive cars, and multi-million-pound mansions in our faces. If it’s not music videos screaming “money…money…money!” it’s playing on our radios. We turn the radio off, the TV goes on and there it is again. With Sitcoms such as Keeping up with the Kardashians and Made in Chelsea, it’s hard not to fantasise about sipping champagne and talking Louis Vuitton handbags. It’s almost impossible not to experience a slight twang of jealousy.
But does the media give us a realistic perception of the life of luxury? Many of us, watch how the other half live and aspire to lead such lives. But is it all shopping sprees and round the world cruises?
Sitting in the hotel lobby, watching high-flyers pass by, was the loneliness place in the world. Beethoven’s 5th symphony fill the air, as I sat on a Chaise longue. I watch women, draped in fur coats and pearls, exchange catty looks with one another. It was a case of “Bitch, I look better than you!” The men with briefcases, looked too frazzled to enjoy their beautiful surroundings, or rather these marble walls had become something of the norm. Like anything, the novelty wears thin and we are no longer grateful. The staff were barely acknowledged as they lumber them with suitcases and walked on.
Societal ideas of the better way of living, encourage young girls to chase this ‘high life’. They see the fruit screaming “eat me, eat me”, and they do anything they possibly can to taste it. Seeing young girls linked arms with pensioners, didn’t sit comfortably for me. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that love comes in all ages. However, the sadness in their eyes, painted a very different story. The reality becomes very poignant, when these girls are sacrificing their true happiness to chase an unattainable dream. Let’s spin it around, there were a few cougars walking hand in hand with their toy boys. I’m not sure whom I felt sorrier for? The deceived or the hoodwinked?
There has become such an emphasis on material things. We watch our favourite celebrities living the dream. We see them fly on jet planes, purchase the contents of Harrods and holiday at some of the most exclusive resorts. Is there any wonder we are quivering in envy? Who wouldn’t want a slice of that life? But if we fill the voids with money and materialism, do we begin to lose insight of what is truly important?
I can’t help but question; does money really make people happy? Sure, it provides security, which ultimately eliminates stressing about money. However, if we had everything money could buy, wouldn’t the novelty wear thin? Would we become one of those ungrateful people? Tossing our suitcases upon the butler, without as much as a thank you. If life were so easy, where would we learn lifes greatest lessons? How would we achieve our full potentials?
Surely there’s more to life than a game of “who’s got the most expensive handbag”, or “my car is bigger than yours”. Surely there’s more to life than luxuries and material items. Am I ready to become a part of this materialistic-obsessed society?
As I jump out of my freezing cold shower, and shiver like a hairless penguin, I say…
“Screw it…GIVE ME THAT LAMP!!!”
Images courtesy of https://pixabay.com