I’ve had about 5 hours sleep having only stopped drinking at four in the morning. I was on my own for the last part of the night, content just to sip the rest of my beer and watch some music videos on the sofa. The night had been a good one, with friends old and new coming together to celebrate the conclusion of another 365 days of existence.
Some people don’t see the point in new years. In their eyes it’s just another day, but for me it’s a fitting marker for the end of some pretty good days and some pretty dark ones. It’s been a tumultuous year for all in many respects but the biggest change for me is the realisation that I am actually a pretty fortunate guy. I’ll elaborate on that one for you.
Back in 2014 I read an article on (and this is the exact Google search I did to find it again), “Indian guy who invented cheap sanitary products”. Thanks to its relative uniqueness I found the article straight away. I urge you to read it completely as Arunachalam Muruganantham has positively transformed lives for women across India. For simplicity though, I’ll quote the text which resonated with me:
“Muruganantham now lives with his family in a modest apartment. He owns a jeep, “a rugged car that will take me to hillsides, jungles, forest”, but has no desire to accumulate possessions. “I have accumulated no money but I accumulate a lot of happiness,” he says. “If you get rich, you have an apartment with an extra bedroom – and then you die.”
I read that article almost two years ago but that quote has sat dormant in my brain unshared until now. There’s a chance that his words may have been edited or lost in translation but even if that’s the case, there is an editor somewhere who has my thanks.
“I have accumulated no money but I accumulate a lot of happiness,” he says. “If you get rich, you have an apartment with an extra bedroom – and then you die.”
Just roll that sentence around again. What a perfect statement for our age. The guy who helped thousands of women across one of the largest nations in the world just wants to be happy and have enough. No swimming pool for him. No luxury holiday sipping obscenely priced drinks served by a poorly paid waiter. Just a stark realisation that money doesn’t buy you happiness. You earn that happiness through your actions.
Now don’t get me wrong, money helps in this world. But having enough is what should be the aspiration. As our festive period of gluttony and excess passes and a new year starts, skip the fads and start doing things that make you truly happy. You may just find that you already have everything you need to get started