Sam was rather talkative. Years of acquired wisdom occasionally spewed out of him in long monologues. He enjoyed sharing his stories. The good, the bad, and his perspective on what it means to live, and what it means to live well.
We spent my final evening in Hampstead Heath, London. Interchanging between different trails and occasionally touring local museums. The brisk air fueled our temptation to indulge in a warm cappuccino. A temptation that we did not resist.
“Sam,” I began, scraping my chair against the concrete, “you are so positive about everything and it’s wonderful, but why is that? Surely the world isn’t all good.”
He took a sip of coffee and paused in reflection.
“When I was young, I was very very rich. I had too much money and spent a lot of it in the casino, but it was never any fun. In your bank account, there is no difference between 50 thousand pounds and 50 million pounds. When you become particular about what you spend your money on, you start to enjoy it more. This type of the life is more beautiful.”
“Of course,” I nodded in agreement, “but growing up, I always thought that in order to live a happy life, you need money. Money to buy food, money to buy a house, and money to possibly one day buy a car.”
“I used to think this way. Now, whenever something bad happens with money, I cover my nose and mouth until I need air. It makes me realize that I need the life. Money does not give me the life. Air gives me the life, and the life is beautiful. If we cannot touch this beauty, that is our personal problem. It’s not about the view of the money, but how we choose spend what we have. A healthy mind, healthy body, healthy food. That can still be achieved at any level of wealth.”
We took our empty trays to the nearest disposal and continued on our stroll. I was inspired by Sam’s mentality. Although money may be nothing, everything still revolves around money. It’s a harmonious balance that can be quite difficult to master.
“Rich, poor, we are the humans,” Sam continued, "we need something in common. People thinking they are above one another is killing the people. It all starts with loving your body and how you feel about yourself. If you feel bad about yourself, then you transfer those bad feelings onto other people. If you love yourself, you will love others.”
“What type of love do you mean? Don’t we all feel some form of love?”
“It’s not a love like with your boyfriend, or a love you have with your family, it’s a total and complete love. You stop seeing the bad in the world and you trust everybody. There is no space in your life to see the bad anymore. It does not exist.”
Sam’s words replayed in my mind for quite some time. He had chosen to forgo a luxurious lifestyle in pursuit of happiness. It took me a long time to understand how one could choose to be happy because I don’t think such knowledge can be taught, but he showed me that it’s possible. Maybe it’s in a moment, or over the course of several years, but with time you start to see the world for what it truly is.