George Pieper

George Pieper

The Meaning of Affluence

Ah – affluence!  I know that affluence as a stand-alone term can have different connotations to different people.  I felt that I needed to include affluence as one of my blog/vlog categories because it is the key connector that ties my other categories together for the theme of living your best life.  Since this is my first blog on affluence, I will explain what I mean by it and what I hope to share with you as I continue to write successive posts. 



Merriam-Webster’s definition of Affluence is:


1. a. abundance of property: WEALTH

   b. an abundant flow or supply: PROFUSION

2. a flowing to or toward a point: INFLUX 


Meh.  This is an OK definition, but I do not see affluence as just another synonym for wealth or profusion.  While having an abundance of money and things can be great, they are just vehicles, a way of getting to what we really need and want at the end of the day.  As they say though, “money can’t buy you love”, but love in my opinion is essential to having affluence, which is why I see it as so much more than mere wealth.  Affluence is not privilege either, although many privileged people have affluence.  A deeper appreciation is necessary to be affluent that is sometimes lost with privilege, particularly if a thing or accolade is not earned.  Affluence has a positive effect for those who possess it and also for those around them.  It is opposite of entitlement or false superiority.  I see affluence with more finesse in terms of living your best life.  I do not see it wholly as a relationship with money or possessions, but perhaps with more of an interconnection to the intangibles that make life fulfilling, like happiness, joy, satisfaction, accomplishment, and peace.  People who are fulfilled with what they have enjoy affluence. 


I also tie affluence to the ideas of luxury and leisure.  To be affluent is to enjoy bountiful opportunities for leisure-time pursuits and luxuriate in them.  This does not mean that you need to be retired to fully partake, it just means enjoy plenty of indulgent experiences that bring feelings of pleasure, ease, comfort, relaxation, exhilaration, exultation, and elation with the time you have.  It is about filling your senses.  I look at affluence in a larger context than luxuriating alone.  It is a state of balance, not overindulgence, but just enough to feel satisfied with a little left around the edges to savor.   


When I was a young man in my 20s, I worked for a large primary and specialty care group as an executive administrative assistant.  I had several bosses, but my number one priority was assisting Dr. Richard Layton the Chief Medical Director for the whole organization.  Dick was a charming man and a delight to work with.  He came into the office every day with a big smile on his face greeting people as he walked through the building.  Dick was lyrical, he would sway his arms as if he were conducting music that no one else could hear.  He had enjoyed a long and successful career.  He was highly respected and considered the Father of Family Medicine in the US.  At the pinnacle of his career, he did not worry about money, he was healthy, and did not seem to have a care in the world.  At 74 he was overdue for retirement, but he loved the work, and everyone loved him.  His wife Marilyn and his adult children would often visit for a lunch break.  Marilyn was a successful artist and they complemented each other so well.  Married for 50 years you could tell that they were still very much in love, deepening exponentially from the day they met.  It was beautiful to see.  They were extraordinarily rich in all the things that mattered.  Dick in my view was a truly affluent person.  I admired him and was inspired to be like him.     


I know when people drive through a fancy neighborhood, as an example, it is easy to generalize and say these homes are full of affluent people.  While this could be the case, this is a perception of affluence, as we do not know the individual stories of the residents that live there.  I think the reality of affluence is more a state of being grateful and content, like the attitude I saw displayed by my former boss.  I liken it to the Zen Buddhist ideals of mindfulness, attainment, and enlightenment.  Gaining affluence is intentional act.  It is a journey that involves practice.  I believe that one can have wealth without being happy and this is why affluence is different.  With affluence one must be fulfilled in life. 


This is idea of affluence I will be writing about in my blogs.  I will share posts about seeking fulfillment and squeezing the most out of life’s indulgent experiences.  This will be expressed in my blogs on food and drink (Gastronomy and Libations), travel (Adventure), and at home in the life we build around ourselves (Habitat).  Therefore, my blogs on Affluence will be center more around the practice of affluence and financial security.  I will share skills and life hacks that get you closer to your personal goals to achieve a fulfilled life that is thoroughly enjoyed and well lived.  Some posts may be as simple as tips for planning and budgeting, while others will explore my tricks to save money for your next big purchase or for an amazing travel adventure.  Please subscribe and join this journey with me as we dig deeper into this subject and more.    

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