By Jay Ledesma

HAPPY Easter! There is no doubt that Easter is one of the most important and happiest celebrations among Christians. It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 3 days after his crucifixion, death, and burial. His rising gave His Disciples and believers renewed hope and faith. We continue to observe and celebrate Easter as this symbolizes our own resurrection or rebirth. Our dying from the past and resurrecting to a whole new tomorrow. With that “death”, we bury our heartaches, failures, frustrations, and bad habits, and prepare ourselves to welcome the start of a new beginning.  We are given the chance to erase what has been written and write a new story.    

As I was doing my own Easter reflections, I chanced upon this very nice quote from Syed Balkhi, which says, “Happiness is the new rich.  Inner peace is a new success. Health is new wealth. Kindness is the new cool.” His words resonate in me as they reflect how our disposition should be as we rise from the disruptions and chaos brought about by the pandemic and live anew.   

Prior to the pandemic, it was all about getting or trying to get rich, flexing our new possessions and luxuries, working hard for career advancement, and growing the business no matter what. We measured success and happiness by the amount of money we have, the beautiful things we acquired and places we have been to, the position titles and designations we earned, and the businesses we have ventured into. But the last two years taught and showed us a new paradigm. We realized that all of the above can just be taken away and lose their value in an instant. We started appreciating things that we used to overlook, as essentials.   

Happiness is the new rich.  We all now know and have proven that money cannot buy our happiness. We have been witnesses to a number of rich, famous, and influential personalities who are battling with their own sadness and depression. No matter how they try to look for and chase happiness, they cannot seem to find it amidst their grand lifestyle and accolades. This pandemic was a great equalizer. No matter how much money we have, the pandemic excused and spared no one. They have the money and resource, but like everyone else, they too were locked down, got infected, and hospitalized, some even died. Suddenly, the amount of money you have did not matter as much as being with your family and spending quality time with them, discovering yourself and the many talents and skills hidden in you, doing advocacies and missions far beyond and bigger than yourself, and just having the time to do what you have always wanted to do. Money is just a means/instrument of a transaction. Happiness is a feeling you get when you recall your past and see how far you’ve come. The new rich is not about chasing money anymore…it is about living the life we have often taken for granted. I am thankful to be abundantly happy! 

Inner peace is a new success. Devoting 12 hours of your quality time in the office?  It’s a weekend with the family but your mind is still on the unfinished project you’re working on? Worrying how far you still are from the month's quota?  All worked up for your board presentation to be perfect?  Doing everything in your power to attain success in your career or business. I bet, we are guilty of any or all of the above. Unfortunately, these came with an expensive price…time away from the family, sleepless nights, stress and anxiety, anything but inner peace.  If before, success is about getting more, today, success is appreciating what you have. Amidst the fear, restlessness, and discomfort brought by the pandemic, we all strive for inner peace. We learn to be more thankful and content with what life has given us. When we are free from stress and anxiety, our mind is able to breathe and see things from a better perspective. Inner peace is achieved in knowing that you are enough and that you have enough. It’s finding inner peace in the simplicity of life.  I am grateful for who I am and for what I have.  It’s more than enough! 

Health is new wealth. We all believe in the saying that health is wealth. This cannot be truer during this ongoing health crisis. People will literally trade all the money they have in exchange for good health, and for an extra lease of life. As they say, when you are healthy, you are the richest man on earth. But when you are sick and your days on earth are numbered already, you can consider yourself the poorest, regardless of how much money you have.   Getting healthier is now as important, as earning those millions. In fact, for many, it’s even more important than getting rich. When we are healthy, we enjoy a better quality of life. When we feel better, we feel wealthy. And the good news is, that we all have access to the opportunity to be healthy and feel better. We don’t need much money to be healthy. We just need to eat more fruits and vegetables which we can even grow in our own homes; exercise by walking/jogging in our neighborhood and no need for those fancy treadmills and gyms; have enough sleep and power naps which you can easily do in the comforts of your sofa or bench, and grow your relationships with the people that matter to you.  Healthy people are the billionaires in the new normal. I definitely want to be a billionaire! 

Kindness is the new cool. From being self-centered, pandemic also taught us to be more selfless and others-centered. Back then, FB timelines are about posting selfies, showing off, and flexing one’s own achievements and acquisitions. These have been replaced with posts showing random acts of kindness. Social media have now been used as platforms to espouse, promote and showcase all forms of kindness movements and charities. And again, this is not limited only to the moneyed and powerful individuals. The ordinary Juans and Marias, in their own humble ways, extended and showed their generosity by lending their time, efforts, and talents to be with and help those in much need. Everyone was bitten by the kindness bug. As we realized that we only need so much in our lifetime, we all want to give and do something for others. It made living more meaningful, colorful, purposeful, and significant. Pandemic might have caused more harm than good but it undeniably brought kindness back into fashion. A fashion that will not just easily fade away but will last for a long, long time. Now, that’s my kind of fashion!

The last two years have been crazy, difficult, and challenging for most of us. It gave us both happy and bad experiences that are now part of our memories and life lessons. Let's not put them all to waste and proceed with our lives as if we haven’t learned a lesson or two. As we rise from our “ pandemic death”, let us be mindful to chase and live a more simple life of happiness, inner peace, good health, and kindness. After all, it’s how our lives are meant to be lived!

About the Columnist

Columnist Image

Ms. Jay Ledesma writes about local tourism and business bits that delve on investments and insurance.