Living Your Values

I have several friends I’ve made during the two-and-a-half years we’ve living in North Carolina. We’ve been fortunate to meet some very nice, interesting, generous people.

Some of our friends happen to have much larger incomes than we do. While we may not know exactly how much larger, we’ve had enough hints to know that some of our friends easily make double or triple what we make.

Good for them. I think that’s awesome that they’ve developed businesses and careers to generate large incomes. I am happy to hear that they are doing well financially.

Sometimes, though, it’s hard to listen to a litany of purchases and decisions that feel so counter to my own values. I certainly don’t want to not make friends with someone just because they spend more than I do, and in fact, I think it’s important to have at least a few friends with different financial situations than your own, just to ensure that you don’t live in a bubble.

But I also regularly feel like the poor friends, which is funny given our above-average net worth. However, we do live in the smallest house in the neighborhood, drive older cars, and eat out way less often than some friends.

We also have several friends and neighbors who have similar values to our own, and usually after talking with one of them, I am reminded that there are plenty of people like us in the world, making similar decisions about time, spending, and energy.

One thing I’ve had to learn, over and over again, is that I must make choices that make me happy. I have spent large amounts of time worried over the choices we’ve made in our lives, especially when others’ values are different from mine. I’ve said yes to things I didn’t really want to say yes to, in the name of friendship or what I thought was the right thing to do. Gone on trips, met people for drinks, put my kids into more activities than I thought we could manage.

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