The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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March 6, 2013

BICKER: What makes us rich?

TUCSON, Ariz. — While I was getting ready for work Tuesday morning, I listened to an interesting topic of discussion on radio station WGN.

I love talk radio and anything that can stimulate my brain that early in the morning is fantastic.

As I was combing my hair, WGN personality Nick Digilio posed a question to me and other listeners, “What is the definition of being rich?”

This really caught my attention and I was eager to hear what the callers had to say. Believe it or not, some were very profound in their views at 4:30 a.m.

What makes someone rich? Well, money is the obvious thing that comes to mind but I think it's much more than that. There is more to life than just greenbacks.

Oh sure, money is nice and it's great to pay bills with, but I don't think money can really buy happiness. I'm sure it could for awhile, but not in the long term.

The secret to being rich, I think, is finding real happiness within yourself and your surroundings. It's the little things in life that make me happy and I believe I'm richer for that than any shopper frequenting stores on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

Life can be rich in so many ways; it's all in how you look at it. I have never been monetarily rich. I, like most of you, just get by. I could wallow in my sorrows that I don't have the money to buy all the things I want, but I choose not to live that way.

I find joy in what I already have; I find joy in things money can't buy. The loyalty and love my dog has given me over the past 14 years has made me feel like a billionaire — just like Warren Buffet. My life has been a lot richer because of her; I wouldn't trade Cordy for all of the money in the world.

Remember the 1980s movie with Patrick Dempsey, “Can't Buy Me Love?” There was a lot of truth to that movie; money is not the key to happiness. Patrick Dempsey, who portrays Ronald Miller, pays a popular girl $1,000 to be his girlfriend for a month. But in the end, the price of popularity just isn't worth it.

Since I am an old movie buff, I'm reminded of the movie, “Citizen Kane.”

The main character, Charles Foster Kane who was a millionaire newspaper tycoon, had all the riches he could ever want — a big mansion, power and prestige. However, he felt very lonely and unhappy. When he was lying on his death bed he used his last breaths to whisper the words, “Rose Bud.” That was the one true thing that made his life rich and happy.

For those of you who have never seen the film, Rose Bud was the name of his sled he had when he was a boy. He cried out for a little insignificant thing that had no real value, but made him happy.

There are many things that can make a life rich — faith in God, a soulmate to share the rest of your life with, a smile, a beautiful sunset or a warm embrace. I don't think I could ever put a dollar amount on any of those; their value is insurmountable.

Just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I think the same goes for being rich. Warren Buffet may look at my bank account and surmise that I'm very poor compared to his standards, but I would disagree. In my mind and heart, I am rich — maybe a lot richer than he'll ever be.

Angie Bicker has been employed with the Clinton Herald since 2001. She can be reached at angiebicker@clintonherald.com.

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