True Wealth, Real Friends, and Deep Gratitude For It All

Herbie J Pilato
Nov 24 · 4 min read

What’s the difference between making money, making true friends and be grateful for it all? Let’s explore the options.

We all want to make our mark in life or receive the stamp of approval for our work, our product, our words, our actions. Ambition is a wonderful thing when it is utilized properly, particularly when our gifts to write, sing, dance, count, or candle-stick-make somehow bring joy to the world. But our accomplishments mean nothing if, in the process of our attainment, we do not learn or share anything about love.

As such, I encourage us all to love…to make love a priority.

I know these are trying times for many. But in the midst of the turmoil, be it mild or severe, we must find the moment to share love and smile.

We’re all in this world together. We’re all doing the best we can. And we’re all children of the light…the Universe…God…or whomever we choose to name the Creator of All Things. Every single one of us…around the corner and around the world.

For my part, I do not take for granted one moment…one second of life or accomplishment in any way, shape or form. I appreciate every morsel of food I eat…every particle of water I drink…every gift I ever receive…every safe walk home…safe ride in the car…safe flight in a plane…or ride on a train. I appreciate every career goal/objective that I have ever reached…or hope to attain. I appreciate every human being who has ever helped me along the way…every job I have ever had…every dollar I have ever made…every smile I have ever given or inspired. I appreciate and am so very grateful for it all.

And this perspective on appreciation stems from the way I was raised in Rochester, New York in the 1960s and 1970s.

I’m not sure how much money my father made for a living, but I do know for certain that it was not a lot. We didn’t live in the suburbs or in any “nice part” of town. But we sure as heck were happy.

Both of my parents somehow managed to send me and my sister to the best of schools. We enjoyed delicious meals every day and visits from extended family members and dear friends to our home on a regular basis.

My mother was a stay-at-home Mom, thank goodness, and neither of my parents invested in any future because we were all too busy being happy with what we had in the present. Yeah, sure…they could have done things differently; purchased and invested in all the stocks and bonds and annuities, and yada, yada, yada. But they did not. It wasn’t in the cards.

But my Dad always somehow managed to buy a new car every couple of years. We also had a few new beautiful color TV sets through those same years, and we went on vacation a few times…to Canada, Florida, Canandaigua, Lake George, etc.

And during one relatively extravagant period for our family, my parents purchased a brand new mahogany bedroom set for me from Sears. I remember blabbing about it at school for months without any of my classmates caring or understanding why I was so happy. It’s not as though most of them came from wealthy families either. But they at least seemed to have a bedroom set.

But no matter: I appreciated my bedroom set more than they appreciated theirs; along with the TV sets, the vacations, and just about everything else my parents did for me.

Funny thing is, many of the kids in my neighborhood, whose fathers made nowhere near to my Dad’s modest income, used to think my family was rich.

I gotta’ really smile as I look back at that misconception, just as much as I would just shrug my shoulders and keep silent seemingly in agreement with them when in reality I really didn’t know what to say.

But, yes…as I continue to look back, we were, in fact, rich, in every which way….except with money. And you can’t put a price on that kind of rich…because that kind of rich stays with you. Whereas any kind of money-rich fades fast after a time…right along with the insincere friends that usually are attracted to such false pretenses.

So, in summary, here’s to being thankful for true wealth and real friends.

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