Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What's Important

The older I get, the more I reminisce.  First, about my childhood as I scoured my mother's antique trunk a few weeks ago for long-forgotten pictures.  Then, my mind camped on my grandmother each time I took a seemingly insurmountable task and punched it in the face.  Now, I am thinking of Janis Blocker's 11th grade American English class and Henry David Thoreau.  It's funny how reminiscing can lead to dreams of the future---a simple life that is unhurried, free of nasty neighbors, free of rednecks with their deliberately obnoxious, broken tail pipes, free of the nauseous sound of revving motorcycles---just plain free

I have a friend who is somewhat wealthy, considering "wealthy" is a relative term based upon one's individual perspective.  Let's just say that her financial advisor told her and her husband last year that they have enough assets to last them into their 80s, and they're younger than I.

Yet, she is always worried about money.  Yesterday, on one of her husband's days off, he didn't get home until after midnight.  He was salvaging sailboats that had been sunk/stuck by Hurricane Matthew.  This morning in a text with me she said, in part, "He made $6000 yesterday, so I can't be too mad with him."

I have thought a lot about that text.  To most people, it wouldn't mean the same as it does to me.  I look at that and shake my head.  Would $6,000 mean a lot to me, a third-class citizen teacher?  Sure, it would.  That is one bill I could pay off--and he made it in one 14 hour or so day.  Yet, at what cost?  The cost of worrying about money all the time?  Being fixated on making sure they had "enough"---whatever that means.

No, that's not for me.  Let me drift back to Walden's Pond and Henry:  

                 "“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.” 
― Henry David ThoreauWalden
So, I'd rather stick with Henry, who has best encapsulated my feelings about life:

"I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time.  To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating.  I love to be alone.  I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude."  ---Henry David Thoreau