Your Stuff or Your Life?
There are millions of reasons to stop over-consuming. It’s simpler, it’s greener, there’s less to dust. But as former Uruguayan president José Mujica–aka “the world’s poorest president”–reminds us, stuff costs money. For those of us not independently wealthy, our money has a pretty direct correlation with our labors. And unless your name is Tim Ferriss, our labors have a direct correlation with time. So each time we spend money, we are spending time. And once our time is spent, it’s gone. No refunds, no exchanges.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t buy stuff. We might decide that the things that are used, loved and add value to our lives are worth our time. This doesn’t mean that time spent working is bad either. If you love your work, knock yourself out. But ideally, we’d choose to do the work we love, not be bound to do it to pay for stuff. The reality is that if we became aware of the time-expense of our stuff, we’d probably do away with all the unnecessarily upgraded smartphones, the novelties, the status symbols. As Ben Franklin put it, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”