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The best thing in life aren’t things

January 1, 2012

Fame and fortune weren't enough for Winehouse.

This past July, just a few months shy of her 28th birthday, singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her home in London.

Winehouse’s 2006 “Back to Black” album was one of the most successful albums ever. Winehouse was nominated for six Grammy Awards and won five. This tied her for the most Grammys won in a single night by a female artist and the first British female to win five Grammys.

From society’s point of view, Winehouse appeared to have it all — fame, fortune, and her youth to boot. But judging by the way she lived her life, there obviously was something missing.

The successful artist was known for her troubled personal life as much as she was for her music. In interviews she admitted to having problems with self-harm, depression and eating disorders. She went through periods of heavy drinking and drug use and violent mood swings as well.

All the fame and wealth that came from being one of our world’s top musicians was not enough to bring Winehouse satisfaction. She obviously had a lot of pain and turned to a variety of ways to try and relieve it. Even though the cause of death is as yet unexplained, they way she lived her life likely had an influence on her tragic early death.

Three days after her death, my son, Brooks, was born. It is heartwarming to see what simple joys make him happy. Currently all he needs is food, clean diapers and the comfort of Mom and Dad’s embrace to be content.

I wonder how we go from being in a state to where all we need are the basics to make us happy to where we have so many wants.

It is a common thought that money and celebrity are keys to happiness, yet stories such as Winehouse’s are not uncommon. Are you surprised when you hear about a rich and famous person’s drug addiction? The newspaper is filled with stories of people who appear to have it all while living destructive lives.

As a father I hope I can teach Brooks some valuable life lessons including that it is important to be responsible with money, but greed and the drive for more money can sometimes make one’s life worse.

Money allows us to do and buy things we need, but the things I believe bring satisfaction are most of what Brooks needs to get by. If my family and I can continue to have our needs met and have the time and resources to spend quality time together I think we can have a happy and content life.

In the future there will be other stars who appear to have it all make poor choices, and we will hear about it in the news. Do not let these people shape your idea of success. Money gives us what we need to survive but it should not be our ultimate goal.

You may never see Brooks Long’s name in the paper when he is grown up, but hopefully he will live a satisfied life remembering what is important to him.

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