Earlier this week I left my house at noon. I got to the town centre, walked into a shop and picked a light pink smart shirt that I liked. As I placed my hands into my back pocket to grab my wallet I realised that I had forgotten it at home. I placed that shirt back and left, a little angry at myself for forgetting something so important. I checked my side pockets and found spare change. I counted the coins only to find that I possessed £4.78 sterling British pounds, hardly enough for coffee and a sandwich. I had to meet my friends for our coffee in five minutes leaving me no time to go back home to get my wallet. I told myself “Fine, you made a mistake, pay for the consequences”, but then another thought hit my mind “Wouldn’t it be interesting to see if I can go through my entire Saturday with just that amount of money?” and so I did.
Suddenly priorities came into perspective. Realising the luxuries I had, and that I must let go of today. I deprived myself from buying the shirt I liked. I cancelled my plan to go to an Italian restaurant that evening. The cinema was not an option for this day.  I realised I had made a promise to meet some colleagues over a coffee, thus I deducted £2.20 for my Black Americano. Sometimes I have desert, but today I can’t.  I go to the river in the afternoons of every weekend, thus that remains on my priority list, which also means I will want to buy a small box of strawberries putting aside £1.20 as to me that is a must have passion. That will leave me with just enough money to buy a loaf of bread to eat with some cheese and eggs for dinner when I get home.
I am not referring to money here for survival. If you are reading this, then you have the luxury of an electronic device and the luxury of time to read. Thus neither I nor you are struggling for money to neither eat nor drink. Most people when asked they will claim that they are not materialistic. But thorough this Saturday, I realised how much I had to give up. See having the choice to not do something, and not doing that something because you have no choice are totally two different standpoints, and they would change your entire frame of thinking completely. I questioned “Can I survive like this if I had to?”
I started to wonder about two common examples from both my worlds; an Arabian lady and an English lady. When I say common I refer to the fact that it’s a trend that I noticed often in the social communities surrounding me, and I don’t include everyone.
 The young English woman is an administrator to the research office I study at. She earns an average salary, carrying a River Island bag, dressed in average clothing. Smiling as she spoke about her carpenter boy friend. She was telling me of their three year relationship, and how sometimes she adores his childish behaviour, especially when he does his reckless actions. I asked her about the future, and she seems to be clueless … I asked her bluntly do you feel content? She replied, “I am happy”.
When I look at many of my female friends from my beautiful Arabian society, I don’t even need to ask the question “Are you content?” I already know their negative responses. They are beautiful in appearance, smart through their education, dressed in the most beautiful sense of fashion. Not to mention a Louis Vuitton or a Gucci bag is a common  accessory in our part of the world and as extreme as it may sound, hopeless romantics in most cases. Reading joy in people’s faces as they walk past you in both worlds will reinforce my argument here, if you are privileged to see both worlds you would most likely agree. I am not referring to one part of the world being better than the other, both contain beauty in different manners, keep in mind, what I'm talking about here is the effect of materialism driven societies on our individual lives.
I am still thinking about this issue, only now, I am sitting on a bench eating those strawberries by the river. Money, it is not the key to happiness, we all know this already. But I am trying to assess the level of contribution it has towards that happiness.
See we all have needs, and we tend to be materialistic towards certain things, maybe cars, big houses, travelling, luxurious food, jewellery, brands, books, technology, you name it, if it requires payment, then it is a materialistic possession.
There is nothing wrong with wanting things in your life, its natural. It’s when you want them as a necessity, that’s when it becomes an issue. See the English lady might want a Gucci bag, after all its what she sees on media channels, but she can’t afford it for it requires a two month salary, and mum and dad don’t pay for things in their part of the world. But it’s not a necessity; to her the necessity is what she was talking about passionately, a universal fervour, her love for her boyfriend.
I can survive the rest of my life without going to an expensive Italian restaurant, and not ever walking to cinemas again, or without buying the light pink shirt. See all these materialistic attributes are long forgotten after we experience them. Maybe you feel distress for a few moments for not having them. Maybe your insecurity will make you feel less than others in your society if you don’t possess them. But then again, in such cases the issue is you and not the concept you desire.
Set your day to day priorities right, mine were bread, honouring my promise even if it was for a coffee and strawberries on a bench.
I can live my life with little money, but I can’t live my life without any love.
How much does money contribute towards happiness in your life?! Give it a thought!!
Newcastle 24/4/2012


  1. One night during the first trip my sisters and I took without my parents, we suddenly realized we had all, except for one, over-spent and we're practically broke. We were upset at first over all the things we had wanted to do , which cost money, but now couldn't. As the conversation went on we started making jokes about where each of us had spent it and ended up laughing so hard we were afraid the cops would be called on us. The part of the trip where we didn't have lots of money to spend was better than the first half. Point of the story, even that very night I knew how lucky I was. To have the love and support of people that made bad times not only easy but fun.

    It's a wonderful when you librate yourself from the worry and want of money and teach yourself that it comes and goes and when ur desperate it'll sort itself out :)

    1. I very much enjoyed reading that ... thank you for sharing it ....

      Liberate ... (key word)

      Thank you again

  2. I'm a spoilt brat, a princess to be precise. I know my father loves me more than the whole world put together, I know my mother would turn the world upside down for my smile. My friends are my treasure. My security is in knowing that I'm loved. that someone will always be there to catch me if I fall and that makes me a very rich woman. My wealth is invaluable, you can't buy it, you can't steal it, and you can't give it away. It's what most people need most, yet they seek joy in material things. Money will come, and money will go. It's how you use it that makes you a better person or worse. Do you use it to reach out to someone in need? To seek knowledge and enrichment or do you use it so that you may walk with your head high in the air looking down upon those who can't afford.
    I won't pretend I don't have high standards or a taste for luxury. I do. But I also know that like the water you use to wash your hands, money will flow and will be gone. What will always stay with you are investments of greater significance, of love, respect and honor. To end with I'll share some words I love written by Khalil Gibran
    My favorite line:
    Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors.

    1. One of Jibrans greatest ... Your perspective is both valid and strong....

      It brings me much joy to read the views of readers, or as I prefer to describe them friends, I can’t thank you enough that you took the time to write your thoughts.
      We all have a taste for certain luxuries, even if it is things like traveling, as long as we know it’s a luxury and not a necessity we are fine in my view....

      I quote you "What will always stay with you are investments of greater significance, of love, respect and honour".

      well said

  3. Masha allah great, i really enjoyed reading. I remember it happened to me once and it made me thank God right away. Hamdella.
    Would you mind to send me your email? I have something to tell you :)


    1. Always thankful to the lord for both his blessings and tests.

      Sure Areej, my publicly displayed personal email is:

      I hope I could be of assistance with sincere pleasure.