A long, long time ago, in the middle of a divorce, I had to rethink my priorities and replan my life. I had to analyze myself and determine what was really important for the rest of my life. I was very low at that point. I had lost my wife, my children, my home and all that I had been working for prior to then. I needed to refocus.
After much soul-searching I determined that there were several core elements in my life which would not change. You always will have your family, if you work to keep that bond alive. Friends come and go and life changes many aspects of our lives, but family is always there to care for and care about. I also determined that “things” acquired throughout your life don't really matter. You accumulate many “things” during your life and eventually have to discard most of them. They really didn't matter. They gave you temporary happiness that soon disappeared. What really gave me the most satisfaction was to bring joy into someone else's life. When they had joy, I had joy. The memories of the joy you give sustain you. Those memories won't be discarded. They are treasures you can enjoy the rest of your life. When you give joy, you are really giving of yourself and you create a link between yourself and someone else. People like to share joy – they are just afraid of being taken advantage of or or “owing” a payback favor. When I try to bring happiness to someone else, I make sure that they understand that there are no strings attached. I give freely and expect nothing. My reward is in making someone happy.
Unfortunately, this isn't true for all people. Some people only feel happy when they “win”. Winning for them may be acquiring wealth, or strength, or power. If they only could realize that wealth and strength and power fade away with the years. All you end up with is memories. Happy memories and friends and family make life worthwhile.
I didn't try to amass wealth. I set out to love and protect and care for my family (daughters, parents, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc). Over the years, I feel that we have all shared much joy and our relationships are strong and loving. It turned out that I lost what I had been working for but found much more. I have many great memories.