ee – this is the problem with most people. We’re all looking at the world through warped filters of what an ‘idealized life’ should be. Buy this, buy that – and we both know young rich idiots who go out and do exactly what Madison Avenue programmed them to do: be good little consumers.”
“You didn’t go on the typical spending orgy and I have a lot of respect for that. Right now, you’re like the kid that somehow got permanent summer vacation, but entering his fourth month. You’re starting to get bored and you realize the excitement of getting the jackpot is not nearly enough to sustain you.”
“Hmm. Tell me more.”
How many times have we heard the phrase “set for life?” You hear people say all the time: I’d be set for life if only I could make $X per year … if only I could get a degree at University Y … if only I was dating person Z. And that’s the problem right there. We've been conditioned to see happiness as a fixed state you can achieve or rest upon. Your eternal soul can be redeemed if you believe in Jesus. You can be rich if you work 90-hour weeks at the right firm. You can be healed if you can restore your aura through guided meditation. You can get the pretty girl if you buy these pants.
Say you get what you want. Say you don’t. Now what? Either way, you get disappointed because you spent so much time pursuing that mythical level of ‘enough’ wealth/influence/education that you fail to enjoy the process along the way. The process IS the joy – the outward trappings of rewards are just milestones that mark how much effort you’ve placed in creating value in others' life.
“Believe me, I’ve been learning this lesson the hard way over the past 4 years, so you got to trust me on this one. Plus, it would be a shame to let it go to waste on just me.”
“I’d hardly call improving your life a waste!”
“Your check sir. When you’re ready.”
I reached for my pocket when he gives me a half-smile, half-scowl. “What are you doing?”
“Oh gee – after talking about skinflint friends who’ve been freeloading off you, I’m just supposed to sit here and be one of them?”
“Nah, come on. This is different.”
“I think you really helped me sort some things through. My way of saying thanks.”
“Look – I’m going to offer to just pay one more time.”
“Miss – just take this please.”
As we picked up our jackets and I slipped a 15% tip under the tray.
“What was that all about? I paid already!”
“I was just covering the tip.”
“I already paid that too!”
“Well then. Today is Jackpot Day for our lovely waitress then, isn’t it?”