The economy of a thoughtful life keeps a person honest. Despite the allure of having unlimited resources, I have to believe that having a limit to my money is what makes me decide what is actually important and what I can do without.
When we are thoughtful about how we spend our money, we do it in accordance with the governing principles of our lives. However, we have other limited resources as well. Our time is limited. Our energy is finite. Our every choice negates the infinite possibilities of having chosen otherwise.
We have to spend wisely. In the end, we may only be a running tally of the things we chose to value.
Sometimes, I wish there were an established exchange rate for this economy. I wish Reston would post a quantitative standard of what our experiences are worth.
Maybe it would go something like this:
One high-paying job = Doing whatever it takes to keep it
Parental excellence = Academic success of children + 20 Smug Facebook postings per month
Ability to resist cupcakes = Moral superiority
What people think your life is like = 2 x What your life is actually like ÷ Interest rate (%) on your credit cards necessary to maintain the illusion
What I think is important = 100 x What you think is important
Path to fame and fortune = Regular person – (Humility + Ability to Feel Shame)
Opposable thumbs = Ability to craft thoughtful correspondence
Being right = Finding someone else who agrees with you
Reading it on the internet = The truth
Measure of a quality childhood = Number of extracurricular activities x (Average cost of same + Parental inconvenience)
Winning = 10 x Being able to sleep at night.