Prosperity. Is it money in the bank? How much money? For me, it is enough to pay rent each month and put food in the cabinets and cover the electric bill. Prosperity is security. Enough to not worry about how those ends are going to meet every week. Enough. Not a lot, but enough. Others may disagree.

What about a new car? A second house at the beach? (Or even a first house anywhere?) A pair of fancy shoes? A trip to a far away place? What about those? Yes… I might feel prosperous if I had those. I might.

A year ago my definition of prosperity was based on economics. How much money? Enough? Yes, but more money would be more prosperous, right? More would be… well, more.

And now… it’s not just money. Enough money to keep the ends together, but after that… prosperity is how many hugs I give each day. And how many I get. Prosperity is opening holiday cards from friends and family around the world and feeling loved. Prosperity is how many grass and mud stains are on my jeans after a game of soccer in the yard. Prosperity is being invited to an outdoor, socially distanced Zumba class. Prosperity is seeing a gorgeous sunrise and sunset in one day. Prosperity is how much unexpected delight I can bring someone else in a day.

If I were my own best friend I would tell myself to re-evaluate what it means to be prosperous. I would broaden my definition and find that after paying the bills life can be very very full of things that do not cost money but do cost time and effort and attention. These things (intangible as they may be) will leave me feeling far more prosperous. Prosperity is equivalent to my level of gratitude for what I already have.

This past year has opened my eyes to the absolute importance of community and connection. Prosperity, for me, is friends and belonging to a community and love. Prosperity is connection. Prosperity is helping others. Possibly it is measured in the number of smiles I share, not the amount of money I have. I am not trying to make light of the importance of making ends meet – I think that has to be addressed first and for many they are living on a razor’s edge between enough and not. But for those who have enough I think it is increasingly important to examine life beyond how much money is in the bank and think instead in terms of laughter, love, and community. Prosperity.

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