What rich people have that you don’t

The wealthy – although we already know that they are not necessarily any happier than the rest of us – do tend to have something that I wish I had more of myself. This photograph (from Metropolitan Home magazine, April 1990) highlights plenty of it. The picture is worth a thousand words, but a good editor could knock them down to a handful: minimalist, clean, simple… breathing. When I look at this picture, I feel as if I have taken off my girdle and loosened my belt.

This is my favorite graphic representation of something rich people have that most of us do not: lots of empty space.

Either consciously or subconsciously, don’t we all long for the relaxed calm and the generous indulgence of empty space? Nothing is demanded of us there. There is nothing to do but be. Most of us try to satisfy that yearning by moving into bigger houses. Then – being domesticated humans – we feel the pressing need to fill every empty cubbyhole with stuff. But then, of course, we want an even bigger house.

Maybe more of us should just consider the alternative – clearing out the spaces we already inhabit. It’s a solution with a lot going for it. It’s simple. It’s free! It’s achievable. It’s immediate. And ultimately, it’s extremely liberating.

So take off the girdle and loosen the belt. Breathe easier.

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