The Best Gift I’ve ever Received
I just recently had my 30th birthday. It was a simple affair. A BBQ in Mr and Mrs No Pants backyard where I got to share good food with great company. No gifts were required. The only thing that was needed were the presence of my friends and family.
Now, not everyone respected my request of no gifts. My parents have always been ones that express their affections to others through giving of gifts. Gifts of stuff. I can’t fault them for it, it’s their choice and what they like to do. But, this year – they gave me the best gift ever. And here it is:
Technically, the card wasn’t the best gift I’ve ever received. It was the words written inside it. My lovely parents wrote the following:
“To No Pants Money Man,
Happy 30th Birthday. You have grown into an amazing young man, you have made us proud.
Lots of love,
Mum & Dad”
Reading those simple words brought me tremendous happiness. I did my best to keep those feelings internalized as I first read it. I’ve always had trouble expressing affection to my folks. I’m working on it though, have even managed to share a few man hugs with the old man. But, I digress! Almost three weeks later, thinking of those words still gives me a smile.
The reason being is they make me feel loved and accepted. They give me a sense of belonging. A sense of a connectedness.
If you have read my article are you wasting your life at your job, you’ll know that a sense of connectedness is really important to creating a fulfilling and happy life. People have an overwhelming need to belong.
A sense of belonging can only be obtained by forming meaningful social bonds with other people. Whether it be your family, friends or both.
No amount of stuff can ever give you this enduring feeling. No matter how many pieces of clothing you buy to keep up with the latest fashion, or how envious you think your neighbors are of your brand new SUV. No amount of stuff will ever give you that sense of belonging.
Hanging out with like-minded people provides you a positive support network. When times are tough, your people are their to give you emotional support. When you need a hand moving something heavy, they’re there to give you their hands. Belonging gives us pleasurable affiliations, like “shooting the breeze” with your mates over a cold beverage, or getting “cuddly” with your partner. Having that enduring sense of belonging is what makes you really rich. It’s what gives you enduring happiness.
This is why those simple words in that birthday card are the best gift I have ever received. They let me know that my parents are there for me. They’re there to give me emotional support, to shoot the breeze with and to give me a hand when I really need it. This is more meaningful and important than any amount of stuff.
If we all took the time to realize that a sense of belonging is one of the cornerstones to living a happy life, our lives would drastically change. We would stop working so damn much and we wouldn’t buy so much shit. We would spend a lot more time with our friends and family. And, we would all become financially independent doing so.
No Pants Money Man