Recently, I came across an Anthem on social media that said Adulthood is a scam because as an adult, you have to work twenty-four hours a day to make a living, no one will ask you if you had breakfast, and no one will send you free money even if you don’t have anything. I laughed because I remember when I was younger thinking that adults were actually having fun, and I could not wait to grow up and start going to work, making money, dressing the way I wanted, eating what I wanted, buying what I wanted, going wherever I wanted, I had so many plans for my adulthood! Now that I am an adult, I sometimes wish I could be a child again; they, on the other hand, wish they could grow up overnight and not have Mummy and Daddy breathing down their necks telling them what to do and what not to do. What a wonderful world!
Even as adults, we have different desires; some wish to be as wealthy as Bill Gates, while others wish to have the freedom that the poor have. I saw a celebrity show a while ago, and the celebrity was a 19-year-old lady who almost committed suicide and was taken to see a psychiatrist, her complaint was that she could no longer freely do what she wanted, she wanted to go to the beach like every other 19-year-old girl, walk freely like others, but she could not because of her status. She wished to be popular before achieving celebrity status, so she worked towards it, putting in hard work day after day; she even enjoyed the status at first but never stooped. What a waste! Her position is one that most girls aspire to.
Another time, I saw a documentary about a woman who went to her late parents’ mansion after their deaths and discovered that the once beautiful mansion that was the talk of the town was covered in debris, grasses, and bushes and that the current inhabitants were reptiles. She told how their parents deprived them of some good things, a good life while building the mansion, and how they were told it was a sacrifice so that the building could be completed. Not long after the building was finished, the children left for school one after the other, then married one after the other, and the elderly parents were left in the mansion with their helpers until they died. She also mentioned that the father later regretted spending so much time and money on the building rather than spending more time and resources with his family and improving the community in which he lived.
Most wealthy people have one or more desires; some wealthy people want more wealth, and there is always a desire that cannot be satisfied. You are just one person with four different types of cars and are still interested in acquiring more until there is insufficient space to park the cars, at which point you begin to look for ways to keep these cars safe from theft and rust. Your wealth, which should bring you joy, instead brings worry because it attracts thieves and fraudsters. Human requirements, you might say!
What about a politician who starts out as a local government chairman, does well for himself and his community, then runs for the position of the state governor, feels the power that comes with the position, desires more power and fame, and decides to run for the presidential seat even though he knows it is beyond what he can handle, but he does not know when to stop or when to let someone else try? Power intoxicates, and absolute power intoxicates even more, so he decides to obtain absolute power and go to any length, including becoming corrupt, to achieve the status he desires. At the end of the day, he ruins his good name, ends up in jail with no friends, and his companions are regrets and emptiness. Although he began beautifully, he is unaware that it is best to leave the dance floor when the ovation is loudest. He wants more and more and more, without ever asking WHY?
The more you have, the more you want, and the cycle continues! Where does it all lead? Is there a limit to what can be done with more? I once wrote an article titled “Can Money Make You Happy?” and the conclusion we came to was that money cannot make you happy. Some of the happiest people I’ve met are not even wealthy.
“The law of diminishing returns, also called the principle of diminishing marginal productivity is an economic law stating that if one input in the production of a commodity is increased while all other inputs are held fixed, a point will eventually be reached at which additions of the input yield progressively smaller, or diminishing, increases in output.”– Britannica
In other words, the more of something you use, the less benefit you get from it, all else being equal; or, the more you get, the more you want until what you get from what you input gradually become irrelevant with time unless you are wise enough to change some factor by stopping to ask “WHY”?
This reminds me of a saying by King Solomon, one of the wealthiest kings of ancient times, that all is vanity upon vanity.
In conclusion, while it is important to have desires, make plans, work toward those plans, set goals, and achieve those goals, it is even more important to always ask, “Why do you want more?” If the reason is to please yourself rather than to bring happiness to others or to serve humanity, you may be pursuing emptiness, vanity! The best way to keep getting and getting more is to reach a point where there is a change in purpose, a change in the constant, where the constant is “I,” “ME,” “MYSELF,” and “MINE.” More importantly, the ability to distinguish between greed and service, selfishness and selflessness, is the factor that tells you when to introduce the necessary change and when to change the constant!
“Vanity costs money, labor, horses, men, women, health and peace, and is still nothing at last, –a long way leading nowhere.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Author : Amiakhor Beatrice Ejaeta
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