Most days were the same for us on Maui - wake up around 6 am, have breakfast on the lanai by 7, then hit the beach by 8:30 or 9:00, to swim in the ocean and bake in the sun until we grew hungry for lunch. After lunch it was either go to a new beach or swim in the condo's pool, maybe do a little light reading or some very light shopping until supper time, after which we would try our best to read, watch tv or a movie... and end up falling asleep by 9:00. It was a great routine!
One day, we drove out to Kaanapali beach, some distance from our Kihei condo, and in a much pricier neighborhood, judging by the Hyatt, the Marriott, the Westin and the like. After a few hours on the beach, we strolled through the resort grounds and even snuck into one of the ritzy pools (don't tell anyone!) On the way back to our much more modest digs my daughter surprised me with this comment: "Mom", she said, "I'm glad we're not rich."
Clearly that is a subjective statement, for "rich" depends upon one's context. I know there are many for whom a trip to Hawaii would seem like the height of wealth, and there are countless for whom my home, my car, my lifestyle, my children's college educations can only be pipe dreams. And yet, walking through the opulent resorts, past the meticulously groomed gardens and the amazing water features, we felt significantly out-classed.
When I asked my daughter what she meant - who wouldn't want to be rich? - she replied, "I'd much rather have a mother who is a woman of substance than a woman of means." She went on to thank me for values imparted which focus on what she identifies as "substance" rather than on money.
I am grateful for that perspective. Grateful, and a little bit humbled by my daughter's wisdom. It is easy to mistake possessions for power, to confuse money for value. And while I rejoice in blessings both personal and material, I hope to live in the perspective that says "substance is more important than means"...at least until the next time I sneak a swim at the Kaanapali Hyatt.