Particularly in light of my post last night, Debra Kreps posted a video that is so on point it’s ridiculous. We’re reminded constantly of the shortness of our lives. Of the chance there is that it could be taken away from us suddenly. An accident. An illness. The machinery of our body breaking down and screeching to a halt. And, when that happens, can we look at our lives and say did we do what we wanted to do with the time we had? Did we spend our time as we wished? Or, instead, for some unfathomable goal, did we waste our time?
Let’s go through with it. What do you want to do? When we finally got down to something which the individual really wanted to do, I will say to him — You do that and forget the money, because if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing. Which is stupid. Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.
This is the grand struggle I face these days — that I spend more and more of my time doing what I don’t want to do in a quest for what I don’t want. What would I do if money was no object? I would live my life simply with little. I would just be. Yes, that’s vague, but it’s my reality. I would no longer strive for more. I wouldn’t have a sports car or a big house. I would remove myself from all of the things we’re led to believe we need. If money were no object and there were not people who depend on me who have bought into the never-ending “need” we have been conditioned to believe in, I would be far far away, both physically and spiritually, from the life I lead now.
I believe the real problem with achieving the idea of the video is that we have been conditioned and cultured to believe that our quest really is about achieving more. More stuff. MORE STUFF!! JUST MORE! Instead of identifying what we really need and settling only for that. A couple of years ago, I read a book about a guy who spent a few months living in a house that was 12 feet by 12 feet. The woman who lived in the house was going to be gone for a few months and let the writer live there during her absence. The house was set up so that the woman had everything she needed to live on and she was able to live, I believe, on virtually no money.
At one point during the book, the author wrote about an experience he had in Africa years before. He was talking to a villager about the labor struggles early in the 20th century and how unions had to strike and demonstrate and fight for a 40-hour week. When the villager learned of this history and that we had to fight for the right to only work 40 hours a week, he laughed at the idea because where he lived they only “worked” for a few hours a day. And you know what, he was happy and had what he needed.
I really think we could learn a lesson or two from that villager. We don’t need more of everything. We need … well, only what we need and we should define that rather than the companies and advertisers who want our hard-earned dollar.
It is so important to consider this question … what do I desire?
For me … nothing other than time and the opportunity to experience the world and people around me.
Thank you, Debra.