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The Loot

dragon's hoard

one possible solution

I have watched the number that represents my money get smaller. And while I’ve heard myself uttering cries of distress and betrayal, occasional heretical thoughts pass through my mind as well about the current state of affairs and what it really means and what I might ought to be doing or have done. I’ve wondered, what about remembering not only to buy low, but to sell high, the next time? But I didn’t, and here is what I think:

Mattresses
What were mattresses created for? well… for putting your money under. Now I remember when I started having the sophistication to scoff at people who (figuratively in most cases) just put their money under the mattress. The expectation over the past many decades is that there are better things to do with money, it shouldn’t just be kept safe, it ought to get bigger. But perhaps at one time, the mattress was considered an innovation, hiding money was better than losing it. When you have something of value, you don’t want to lose it and that is always, always, always a problem. “Better to have nothing, than to have something good,” goes the Buddhist saying. But the history of human culture is marked by new and better ways to keep what you have. And it never really works. You break your favorite spear, your cows get sick or eaten by wolves, your gold gets stolen, your house burns down, your stocks go through the roof and crash back down. The way of all flesh. Why am I whining? It’s a really lovely fantasy that I can have something that no one will take away and riches almost seem more real and safe as numbers on paper, but when I look inside myself, I never really believed it.

what to do
Okay, so then what? If my assets aren’t really that number on the piece of paper maybe there’s a different way to think about what makesĀ  me rich or poor. And perhaps my expenses aren’t so immutable either. Stress makes it harder to be creative, but if I’m not lazy I can imagine my way into more sensible categories. I’m rich when what I want matches up with what I get. And it’s surely just laziness to want so adamantly what I already had and what I thought I would get if nothing ever changed. Why, maybe I didn’t even really want that at all. I just didn’t have the imagination to think of anything else. I’m finding that more and more likely.