I have been in observation mode since I landed in Chiang Mai (CM), watching the Farangs (the foreigners/expats), and the local Thai people. I started wondering what exactly indicates someone is wealthy, or someone is poor, in today’s world. If you walk around the markets in CM, you will notice knock-offs for any and every brand you can think of.
I bought knock-off Converse sneakers for $6 – it says Loy Star on the back, but they look as real as any Converse shoe would. With all of these knock-offs available at ridiculous prices, most people in CM are walking around wearing brand-name items. With food being so cheap, most local people buy all of their meals from outside as do the Farangs.
All of this brings up the question, what does true wealth mean in this new world system?
Are you wealthy if you have a lot of time?
I don’t think so. There are many people who sit, and loaf around, drinking all day, but don’t have enough money to do the things they dream about doing. There are local shop vendors with whom I have spoken who tell me how bored they are waiting for customers, begging customers to come in for a massage, and so on. That doesn’t seem like wealth to me.
Either these individuals don’t realize that their time is limited, or they just have too much of it, sitting around waiting for things to happen to them.
Are you wealthy if you have a lot of money?
Again, I have a hard time believing this one. I meet a lot of rich expats while walking around. There are many older richer folks, who are eager to spend time with a younger person, telling me their stories, and wanting to be sociable. I sit with them, and I listen to them complain about their lives in CM, about the culture here, about their partner, about everything and anything. These people are rich; they have money enough to do anything they want. But they seem to spend their money and time complaining about life, and mostly dealing with their health ailments.
That doesn’t seem like wealth to me. It seems like money doesn’t necessarily equate to wealth. Money can actually tie us down. The term ‘Golden Handcuffs’ actually comes from that exact situation, where you hate your job, but you can’t leave because you make a lot of money from it, and you need that money to sustain the heavy lifestyle you have created for yourself.
Are you wealthy if you have a lot of stuff?
Media tells us if we buy more stuff, we will be happy. Our minds tell us that if we only had that one more thing, we would reach Nirvana. But reality differs. We might get more stuff, but our happiness level after a little jump, goes back to its normal level every single time. There is no correlation at all with stuff and wealth.
In fact, I think our stuff could tie us down. We spend so much of our time taking care of our stuff, that we forget to live.
True Wealth Is Freedom
In my humble opinion, true wealth is when you have the utter and complete freedom to dictate what you want to do with your time, money, space, body, and ideas. Not being bound by anything specific is true wealth to me.
You see the world is changing as we know it. Even though the line between the really rich (the 1%) and the rest of the world is getting wider, the line between rich and poor is getting smaller. In the past, buying a house, purchasing a car, and owning a Louis Vuitton hand bag used to be something most of the world only dreamt of.
Nowadays, everyone is able to choose experiences that were once reserved only for the elite 1%. We can fly anywhere we want, we can buy a car and a house and we can buy luxuries, like handbags, shoes, clothes, and other items.
New World Order Wealth Definition
In this New World order, wealth has come to denote something completely different. In this new world, wealth is all about choice and freedom. It is about independence. It is about the ability to choose to set up your life the you want to.
If I am able to dictate what I do with my time (and money), who I do it with, when I do it at, how I do it, and where I do it, I’m considered to be wealthy in this new world. In this new world, individuals who aren’t bogged down by location, time, space, relationships, or money, are considered to be the truly wealthy.
I hang out with Digital Nomads (DNs) everyday who spend a few hours a day working on making money, and the rest of their time on hobbies and interests. Some of them teach improv workshops. Others do Ayurvedic treatments. Yet others hire a professional Badminton player to help them improve their game.
In this new world, spending your time and money the way you want to do it, regardless of what society wants you to do, is considered to be the true sign of wealth.
In this new world, you can wealthy even if you are not a millionaire. Yes, you can be wealthy even if you aren’t a trust fund baby. And, you can even be wealthy even if you don’t have a yacht or a plane or an island you own.
Superficialities Don’t Matter In The New World
In the New World, people see things for what they truly are. They realize their time is valuable, they have a limited amount of it, and they want to spend it in the specific way that they were born to spend it. If it means, hiring a cottage in the country and writing a book, so be it. Or if it means, hiring a sailboat, and sailing around the world with your two children and wife, that works too.
There are no rules in this new world.
You can create your life the way you want to. In fact, that is encouraged.
In this new world, we manipulate the system, instead of the system manipulating us.
Everything superficial just falls away. We see that the stuff we own ends up owning us, so we declutter and give most of it up. Clearly, we see that the toxic relationships in our lives are holding us back, so we throw those people to the curb and restart.
Join The New World Order
Most of us worry about a third world war, or an apocalypse of sort, but I think the true change that is coming is a spiritual one. Everyone is realizing that the superficialities of life just doesn’t cut it anymore and are searching for more. They don’t want to spend hours behind a cubicle working in a job they hate. They don’t want to spend hours working to pay for that wedding from 5 years ago, or that vacation from 3 years ago.
Priorities for people are changing. We are beginning to spend our time doing the things that truly matter to us, and creating lives where the time and money allows us to do so.
In this New World order, life is a lot of gray, no black and white here. So many different paths a life can take. We choose which path we want to take. Even if no one else seems to be doing the same, we are allowed. Choose this new world order, and walk with us.