When I moved to Spain in 2001, there was someone every day telling me about a new business idea they had. People were moving from home to live in Spain and concentrating on lifestyle rather than just getting rich. Some of us around La Zenia did well for ourselves in terms of the lives we helped create for our families. This type of person is now very scarce in Spain – Have we somehow been sucked back into the the vacuum of work, sleep, eat (rubbish food), repeat, die?
In his best selling book entitled “affluenza” British psychologist Oliver James stated that higher rates of mental disorders in Britain and elsewhere were the consequence of excessive wealth seeking in consumerist nations.
Those of us who are lucky enough to live in Spain, don’t live in one of these consumerist nations. Our Scandinavian and Dutch friends are equally immune to this genuinely frightening, relatively new, phenomenon.
James said that by placing high level importance on acquiring stuff, money possessions and fame, English speaking people, who are generally very well educated, qualified and in so called high paying jobs, suffer this mental stress more than the rest of us.
I read the book with interest, not really believing that it was totally true. Are people in Britain, Ireland and the United States willing to make themselves sick in pursuit of things? Surely we know how to alleviate this illness – just stop looking so desperately for material possessions.
When you have lived in Spain as long as I have (14 years!!!) you tend to lose touch with what the Jones’ are up to, and tend not to care much either. Naturally this does not included the Jones’, my wife’s family, who we do still care about!!
We really don’t define ourselves by our material things and their acquisition. Perhaps there are people on the Costa Blanca, actually scrap that, for sure there are people there who define themselves as being happy because of their perceived success. For me having value independent of my car or large screen TV makes my life easier. This is a life we can achieve on the Costa Blanca, free from material nonsense.
The area here around Alicante is a great equalizer and we are all more or less the same.
We spent three weeks in Amsterdam this year and I became friendly with one guy who it quickly emerged worked in finance and was quite well to do. He explained to me that the Dutch government feels that young dads, as he was, should all take a day off per week to spend time with the kids, and Robin does just that . His main point was there was such little difference in pay by working 70 hours or 30 hours per week, he simply could not justify working more than 30 hours. When he is at work, he works hard, so that he can be work and guilt free on Fridays when drinking beer with me watching the kids in the park.
I thought it was funny when he told me he takes the bike to work too every morning – A 15 minutes cycle. His reason for this – It’s takes 25 minutes to get the Ferrari from the underground parking to find a spot close enough to this office, so again, what’s the point. This 30 hour week must be working for him!
It’s sad when you read that getting ahead is not just an unhealthy obsession but it’s a real mental disorder.
We hope to have a real solution for these people, genuinely this is not a sales pitch by early spring- Perhaps we can really help people to have better lives in the Costa Blanca sunshine – a life that is enjoyed not endured.
Stay tuned for more on our exciting new business opportunities on the Costa Blanca, Spain coming in 2016.