Having lunch the other day conversation stumbled upon money and happiness. Generally, the more someone has the less they appreciate. My friend illustrated the concept:
You buy a necklace, hand made in Africa for $5. For you it is beautiful, it is well made and it looks nice. For you $5 is nothing and you wear it and then leave it.
The African child pours their heart into their work. They take pride in making a thing of beauty. It is expression, sharing of their land. It is a labour of love. The 50 cents that they earn literally means the world to them. It is the difference between food and hunger. It is their ticket to survival. They can see what it is like without and they truly appreciate the opportunities it offers them.
The concept goes much further though. I watch a rider in le tour kick his rear derailleur. His running gear: worth more than my bike and maintained daily. To him it is just another valueless machine, to me a machine one tenth of the monetary value would feel priceless.
I go to a friends house; their drinking glasses are made of thin glass with smooth contours. I drink their bottled spring water. To me it feels divine. I know I could easily buy these things, experience them often and they would become nothing.
The orchestra floors me, literally knocking the wind out of me, the conductor progresses to the next movement. The chocolate is rich and full, some will eat it in a moment but if you suck on it the slow release of pleasure can last for quarter of an hour. A person has many contacts, many friends. Their friendships are special but there is no pressure, no need. No demand for love that the lonely feel towards their few friends.
We finished our meal and my friend went into the kitchen to clean up (he works at the café). As I was walking past the front counter I saw a board against the wall offering hand made bracelets made by third world children. They were $2 and the money was pledged to go towards helping their communities. I bought the first one as a reminder of how lucky but how careful I must be not to overlook the beauty in the world.