By Randall Taylor
They say money can’t buy happiness, and that is one of my main philosophies in life. Don’t get me wrong, everyone loves to have a good amount of money in their pockets for leisure’s sake, but over the past few years, I’ve witnessed this get a bit out of hand. In my opinion, the issue is that as a collective society today, we have so much money that we allow ourselves to get comfortable and end up mistaking that ‘comfort’ for true happiness. We can buy fancy cars, smartphones, condos, sneakers, jewelry, etc. However, can all of these things truly make us happy?
There have been times in my life where I’ve been flat-broke and times where I’ve had more money than I knew what to do with; but the reason I was happy either way was because of my passion in life, basketball. Basketball has been with me since I was a child and the game itself would serve as therapy for me in most difficult times. Eventually, writing poetry would do the same and I found myself to be truly happy. I may have had some stress here and there, but overall, I was happy because I realized what was truly important. Recently, I’ve been questioned as to why I’m able to be happy without much money. I don’t go to school to simply get a job. I come here to learn about more the world from a different angle and how my voice could grow in perspective and adapt to adversity.
Sadly, buying happiness isn’t unheard of according to statistics. As of 2013, studies conducted by Daniel W. Sacks and Justin Wolfers of the University of Pennsylvania, as well as Betsey Stevenson of the University of Michigan for Forbes magazine, revealed that richer countries were ‘happier’ than poorer countries based on their Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita. Interestingly, the U.S. was shown to be unhappier as wealth rises but not because we’re peace-loving angels. We’re unhappy because of the unequal distribution of wealth throughout the country.
In light of other recent research, UK’s Office for National Statistics in Sept. 2015, revealed that the larger your household income is, the more satisfaction and happiness you have, in conjunction with less anxiety and stress. The issue with this is that you can’t qualify happiness in such a way because everyone has a different view on what true happiness is. Secondly, when it comes to the ONS statistics, I think that we often confuse ‘happiness’ with ‘comfort.’
Now, here’s the big one; following your passion vs. getting a highpaying job. A former Goldman Banker who, through Banker’s Anonymous, posted his article which was spotlighted on Business Insider titled, “What it Really Means to be Wealthy,” (Jan. 18, 2013). He stated, “If you have enough assets plus passive income to cover your personal lifestyle expenses for the rest of your life, and that money allows you to work at something you love – without concern for the amount of compensation – then you are wealthy.” This sounds like a dream come true to me but it’s possible and true. That said, I’m not the only one who believes passion should always come before riches as a few students have given their own similar opinions on the issue.
For sophomore computer science major, Myles Goldman, it’s passion before money-making. “For me, I’ve always wanted to become a professional skateboarder; I wouldn’t care if I was making pennies or making millions, even though that would be nice. As long as I’d be able to achieve my dream, then I’m happy regardless,” Goldman expressed.
Siding with the notion of following dreams before materialistic values, is junior accounting major, Natalie Miranda; for her, they go hand in hand.“My biggest passion in life is seeing the world and making a difference, like getting involved with different cultures and donating among other things; but going into a career field that would pay me more is what I’d prefer because the more money I’d make, the more I’d have to put away; so with all the money I’d have saved up, then I could travel more often,” Miranda said.
Overall, I believe that your passion should always be valued over how rich you could be by doing something that could possibly get you a quick buck. As for me? Love. Whether it be for those precious to me or for the passions that have brought me this far in my journey, it is worth more than any dollar bill or coin could ever buy in this lifetime. I’d rather die with one passion that brought me years of wisdom and peaceful joy than live with millions of dollars and be dead inside.