How to Leave More Than Just Material Wealth Behind

“Keeping up with the Joneses.”

The term conjures up images of people displaying their prosperity through their homes, cars, clothes, country clubs, and parties.

It’s a code term for materialism and flaunting your wealth, but underneath it lies a desperate need to fit in.

Keeping up with the Joneses is a constant comparison; it’s a race where the finish line moves further away with every step you take.

Enough is never enough if someone has more.

And if enough is never enough, how will we ever feel like we’re enough?

Externals will never fill the inner void; that’s like expecting snow in the Sahara.

Fun fact:

The Joneses were real people, and the house in the image is what created the popular saying.

In 1853, Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones built a 24-room mansion for herself in Rhinebeck, NY, in the picturesque Hudson Valley.

The Gothic mansion, with its towers, gables, and arched windows, was straight out of a fairy tale.

Even its name, Wyndclyffe, has a magical air about it.

The home was so beautiful and so opulent the neighbors began their furious quest to, you guessed it,

“Keep up with the Joneses.”

Unfortunately, the house fell into disrepair and is slowly falling apart; neglect, weather, and time are its wrecking balls

Before prison, my life was a constant comparison to everyone around me.

I looked at everyone the way the Terminator looked at people, sizing them up and generating a data set.

Only the Terminator’s data was accurate; mine was merely the stories I was making up about them based on their externals.

I was chasing the billionaires of Greenwich, CT, in a race I could never win.

Prison and losing everything ended the race, and I’m grateful.

I’m into the back nine of my life; I’ve got more years behind me than I do ahead of me.

Wyndclyffe makes me think.

The physical world, all the things I chased, the houses, the cars, the watches, the wine, they’re all ephemeral.

They’re all subject to neglect, weather, and time.

And, even if they were maintained and lasted for generations, is that the legacy I’d want to leave behind?

Even if the properties (which I lost) were passed down through my family, I’d be nothing more than a name on a family tree in a few generations.

I’d be a stranger to the people living in what was once my home.

No, that’s not it for me anymore.

Post prison, I’d rather live fully, connect deeply, and impact many.  

I live fully, connect deeply, and (hopefully) impact many by pursuing my calling.

I’d rather leave a legacy that inspires thought and creativity.

I’d rather leave something that guides others to pursue their calling.

Because when we pursue our calling, we cultivate purpose, meaning, and fulfillment in our lives.

This leads to what I’d genuinely love to leave behind for others:

Inner peace and emotional freedom.

📣 Ever wondered what it takes to rebuild your life from scratch after hitting rock bottom? Check out my book, “Blank Canvas: How I Reinvented My Life After Prison”.