29 – Money Does Not Buy Happiness

I learned this lesson fairly early in life. I was young and a single Mom. I was working at Zellers and making about $15,000 a year. This was hardly enough for a single person to live on, let alone raise a child.

I did not have a lot of money, but Connor and I had a roof over our heads. We had food on the table. We had clothes on our backs. We had everything we needed, and just enough money. We were happy.

I would argue that these were some of the best times of my life. Of course, it did not feel like it then. Like all twenty-somethings, I too had big unrealistic dreams.

When I look back even further, I can see some of the happiest memories from my childhood – the ones that really stand out to me – did not involve a lot of my money. My parents were raising five children, and naturally money was not something there was an abundance of.

One of my favorite memories involves Christmas and slippers. In fact I don’t remember very much about that specific Christmas in the house on King Street, except the slippers. Mom and Dad decided to wake us up in the middle of the night – as soon as Santa had come. Each of us had a new pair of slippers at the foot of our beds. Everything else from that Christmas I cannot recall. But, it still makes me very happy to think about it.

Another favorite memory is from another Christmas. This one was at our house on Dufferin Avenue. Mom and Dad were in the midst of renovating and our living room had been gutted. The walls were pretty much just large wooden boards. One day, my Dad came home with neon spray paint, and we all painted what I think were Christmas messages (I could be wrong) on the walls. Fluorescent orange and pink. Eventually the renovation progressed, and my Dad drywalled over the messages. To this day I wonder if the current homeowners know they are there.

Life is about experiences. The experiences we have is the currency that buys our happiness.

I am counting down the days until my 40th birthday with 40 Things.

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