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So many consider money as the primary asset in life. Sometimes we are so caught up in the "rat race" that we forget that money, and each possession we acquire from it, costs us something very valuable... perhaps, even more valuable: time. Especially now, we are having to increase our efforts and time because the economy and inflation are making it harder and more time-consuming to acquire these possessions. Some are taking second and third jobs. Others are working longer hours. It's all very stressful. And for what? "Useless shoes?"

Considering how much more time and effort are now required to "trade" for [insert object here], are you making the best trades? Are you "rich?" How much pleasure are you getting from your possessions? Is your life making a difference? Are you at peace with your life? Should you be re-evaluating what your values are? What are you investing your life's time in? Is it worth it?


Several years ago, my lifestyle changed dramatically due to a single realization: material possession cost money; money is time; time is, in a literal sense, life. The foregoing sounds ludicrously obvious but I had never looked at my possessions as representing units of time taken from my life. If X cost $100 and I made $25 an hour, then X cost me four hours of life. Or, rather, it cost 4 hours plus whatever time was consumed by the transaction costs of making money, such as the time, unpleasantness and expense of a commute. When I made that paradigm shift in perspective, I realized the cost of my possessions was not merely an amount of money but also and more importantly the amount of my life it took to earn them.

I looked at a pair of expensive shoes that I had worn only once because they were uncomfortable. The money to buy those shoes had cost 3 hours of my life which cannot be replaced or reclaimed. Without a hint of morbidity, I wondered...when I confront death, how much would I give to gain back the hours I squandered on useless shoes? In a sense, I applied marginal utility to the time allotted to my life. Right now, the hours can still seem boundless and it is tempting to value each unit as though they were part of an infinite supply. Of course, they are not. Again, without morbidity, I have only so many hours left to live.

I want the hours of my life to be filled with reading and writing, laughing with friends and watching movies with my husband. I look forward to being in my garden in Spring and to cooking complicated ethnic meals that bring the tastes of the world onto the table of my farmhouse kitchen. I want to see the expression on my husband's face when he bites into the meal that is currently simmering to tender perfection on the stove. I long to travel the world and to viscerally experience the places that fired my imagination as a child; some day I will know how the night sky in Africa looks and what a jungle smells like.

Pitted against these goals are the many, many extraneous possessions for which I have traded both money and units of my life; these possessions are the 'useless shoes' of my life. (I call a possession 'extraneous' or 'a useless show' when it is neither necessary nor worth what I traded to acquire it.) Some of the items I bought on a whim, others I bought because they were expected of me (e.g. to wear a certain style of clothing to work). Still others I purchased because spending money provided a temporary boost out of a mood I wanted to change like 'the blues' or boredom. Similar to eating when I am not hungry, buying something filled an emptiness... at least, it did so for a brief moment. Arguably, the flicker of pleasure or fulfillment was itself a negative because it substituted for directly dealing with whatever was wrong...

I rarely give advice... even to friends. But I do offer this insight: do not squander your life.

Do not squander your life


Original posting by Braincrave Second Life staff on Apr 3, 2011 at http://www.braincrave.com/viewblog.php?id=518

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