What is WEALTH?

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations.” – George Benard Shaw

The above quote, beautiful and profound, perfectly encapsulates what I consider to be a “wealthy” life. George Benard Shaw explains a prosperous existence, purposeful and fulfilling, and I strive to live in this “wealthy” and “rich” manner every day. How do you define wealth?

Dictionary.com has six definitions for “wealth.” The first five modern definitions focus primarily on plentiful amounts of money, an abundance of contents, or a surplus of riches. The sixth definition, notably prefaced by the tag “obsolete, archaic,” has a simple, sweet definition: “happiness.” (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/wealth).I far prefer this sixth interpretation.  Focusing on material possessions and money is the equivalence of living life with a “brief candle” versus a “splendid torch.” Embracing purpose, fulfillment, and happiness is a far better way to live than dwelling on financial prosperity, and makes life far more meaningful. I consider myself to be incredibly “wealthy,” as I enjoy living my dream as a professional artist. I am burning my “splendid torch” brightly and want to share that light with others!

That said, I completely understand the ways in which life and responsibility can get in the way of embracing your dreams and ideals. Life is certainly full of twists and turns, and I spent years working in different fields, gaining valuable experience but deferring my goals and dreams. My ultimate decision to dive into a career as a professional artist was a massive leap into the unknown, but brought me purpose and fulfillment I’d been craving! I finally began to feel as though I was living my destiny and bringing beauty and happiness into the lives of others. From launching my painting business to dedicating much-desired time to my painting practice, and now being featured in the upcoming issue of Artsy Shark (check back soon for the full article!), I spend every day full of my chosen definition of “wealth” and gratitude. Far too many people spend their entire work days focusing on the paycheck at the end of the week, staring at the clock wishing the day away, hoping for the minute they can leave the office and do things that bring them happiness. They trade one definition of wealth (happiness) for another (finances). What if we all were able to move our focus away from financial and material wealth, and shift it inward towards the creation of joy and gratitude? Just imagine the art, the beauty, and the happiness that could result. For some, this may mean something as drastic as a career shift; I made the leap and have spent every day grateful for this choice. For others, it may mean mentally reframing the ways in which we approach our day-to-day lives. Building in a few moments of gratitude and positivity, living in the moment, and holding on to true passions and loves will elevate the lives of all those surrounding. 

Let’s burn our torches brightly, persue our true passions, and live “wealthy” – happy, fulfilling – lives!