The Best Things in Life are Free

When I was six or seven years old, I used to be obsessed with the idea of money. It seems rather odd for a child to have such a strong fascination for something so superficial. You would expect a little girl to ask for a Barbie doll or a stuffed toy as a birthday present, but not me. I was more interested in acquiring money, just because of the transitory happiness it brought. However, as I grew older, I began to value love, happiness, and health over money and other material possessions. I began to realize the true worth of friends and family who care about you and the power of good etiquettes and a strong mind which ultimately help you succeed in life.

Today in Pakistan, wealth is synonymous with status, and money is valued more than the lives of individuals. People are murdered daily because of unpaid debts and thousands of lives are at stake because of the greed for money. We live in a world where everything revolves around money and wealth is considered a necessity. People devote their lives to pursue monetary gains in hopes of earning esteem and prestige. They’ve allowed money to shape and mold their personalities and perceptions in an entirely different way. I’ve lived in Pakistan for almost half of my life now and have grown out of that mindset, but many people here are still concerned with acquiring more and more money to achieve self-satisfaction. To be honest, the avarice for money is distorting our values. While the rich display their opulence ostentatiously, others suffer to make ends meet.

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Nowadays, people are judged by what brands they wear. However, there is a cruel reality behind all those price tags. The truth is, many times people are quick to form opinions based on what a person is wearing which denies us the opportunity to get to know a person from the inside. The fact of the matter is, the way we dress certainly does have an impact on how we are viewed and categorized in society, but it should not be the only criteria by which we’re being judged. Many people cannot afford such expensive brands yet our society has put a price on everything. Gaining money and power, be it through legal or illegal means, has become a trend and having knowledge and a respectable personality is of no use anymore. People are more concerned with what car someone drives and what their social position is rather than their preferences or mannerisms.

What many people fail to understand is that wealth is a fickle friend; here today, but gone tomorrow. Superficial traits such as wealth and status are appreciated while genuine characteristics of sincerity and sharing are ignored. The rich are respected as money is associated with power. In Pakistan, for example, the wealthy are able to get away with almost anything, from bribing police officers to getting huge loans pardoned. Moreover, the greed for money leads to all other evils. It causes jealousy and unnatural competition, even between friends and families, and creates a huge gap between the haves and have-nots. Not to mention the fact that it is the root of most crimes. Often times it causes family feuds and separations. In most cases, families start to drift apart over silly things such as property inheritances.

Many people spend a fortune on education and then waste it all with substandard results. People do not realize the true value of a good education. Ask the street boy who earns pennies selling balloons to support his family about the actual value of education. Similarly, Money cannot buy good health. Ask the millionaire who suffered from multiple diseases about his health on his death bed. Ask an orphan about the value of loving parents and siblings. Life’s greatest treasures are intangible and therefore, you cannot put a price on them. There is much more to the world than just credit cards and saving accounts.

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According to Edmond Burke, “If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free, if our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.”

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