What began as the desire for a personal blog initiated itself as a few rather brazen commentaries.
Let me get off of my soap box for a moment and give, at least, something personal. This blog you see, was brought forth from a building desire to speak my thoughts and reflections in a way I may not be able to readily do in daily life. I have a sense it could be valuable.
Therefore, let me venture a step away from the safe subjects I have fallen upon (those impersonal subjects, where I can be at ease and “loud” as I am in my daily life) — to escape sharing the personal I’ve repeatedly dabbled with writing on the fall of the euro, national debt to gdp ratios and how we can best develop new practices.
I do not garden. I have many friends and acquaintances who do, and enjoy as such. The desire to (and “hobby” if you will, is so foreign to me).
Until a few years ago, I traveled with a small black carry-on duffle. Only that, no matter where I went or for how long.
There were more items in my car than in my home.
I invest heavily in human capital and spend (obscenely) little on material possessions.
I have an attachment to non-attachment.
The black duffle was an older version of this one. It was nondescript, free of visible logos, slid under the seat in front of me easily (of any plane) and held a second pair of heels, my tennis shoes, all of my clothes, my chargers, macbook, and toiletries in a ziplock.
I carried or wore a black, knee length cashmere coat, wallet, mobile and passport held in the inner left pocket (earbuds in the right outer).
I was proud of that, and spoke jokingly of it to friends who commented on my oddities. I showed up well dressed (suitably) for anything my life presented, laundered frequently, and when something needed to be replaced (usually: black, non-press blazer, undergarments and the single set of workout clothes, the one mascara or lipstick) I did so. I used to say I did not see how people’s lives were improved by having the amount of “stuff” they tend to accumulate. I’d watch a friend throw on some running shorts to head out with me and complain about how her favourite were better in X but were in the wash or the time and effort people could spend into putting together outfits. Does it really add the quality of life?
I believe now I was somewhat correct (one could say tyranny choice). I believe now I was also somewhat — odd.
I enjoy, very much, walking through shopping malls in different countries. It’s one of the most entertaining, thrilling leisure-time activities I can think of. I never find myself wanting much. In fact, some would argue I enjoy the “not spending” money more than its alternative.
Money is freedom.
It’s not the only form of freedom and certainly not even the most powerful. However, it is a tangible, quantifiable item in which freedom. To me, freedom is secondarily the power to do what you choose and primarily the power to avoid the things you choose to avoid.
Like all forms of freedom, it’s not a guarantee, I do know that. When times of distress fall upon us (i.e. 2008 and the present Euro dive) ones sees even more the power of freedoms accumulated. Even as one’s anxieties can reach extremes watching the markets plummet, currency value cut in half — freedom is still freedom, it is relative in the very basic sense. As I walk through the streets of Wangfujing, Jumeirah Plaza, Outlet malls in holiday season, I find myself taking great pleasure from my “not purchasing.” The temporary (or perhaps even year(s) long (naturally at the effect of the law of diminishing return even if lengthy) value from a new handbag, pair of sunglasses, designer denim, etc rarely (note I don’t say never) seems worthwhile when the tradeoff is a piece of freedom accumulated for the future.
Saving seems difficult for many. While I rarely think in terms of “saving” in the classical sense, I do find myself enjoying saving much more than is conventionally thought of as healthy.
Trading momentary comfort or pleasure for 2X the value at a future moment? When it comes to delayed gratification, I often joke that I would have left in starvation but with a lifetime supply of marshmallows.
I invest in myself. One step above money, is human capital. What I mean by that is the accumulation of knowledge and skills that will allow me to build. This is much less at the effect of market forces beyond one’s control. Building knowledge, skill, thinking and how to leverage human capital into financial capital is more satisfying than most anything. Building an offer in the marketplace, the satisfaction is not altogether in when the cheque clears or the contract is signed but that I am able to make the transaction. The more offers I see to make and close, the more I am at ease with the knowledge that I am able to transact.
I say this not with pride, the reasonings so far have been not a recommendation but an illustration. I cannot glimpse the desire to plant a garden, arrange a home, accumulate furniture for one’s environment and material possessions in general.
It is worse.
If all the people I love, care for and depend upon were gone tomorrow — life would be very very different and an adjustment and rebuilding period quite challenging I’m sure. I know I would be okay.
I find it difficult to allow myself to want something into the future, however large or small. This could be a vacation a year out, furnishing a home is second degree black belt and, of course, planting a garden is always on my mind as a curiosity.
We are all somewhat the product of our pasts. Extreme uncertainties in early years formed much of my patterns today. Those conditions no longer apply.
Slowly, I’ve accumulated more clothing, more “stuff” around the home, I’m slowly letting myself settle a bit more and more.
Letting myself “want” things is a challenge. The consequential things regarding business and production I have no problem with. I’m happy to speak in ways of projecting years out into the horizon, easily. However, the personal things are very very much so.
Last week, I found myself watching some video ads. I, for a moment, let myself get a bit of girlish excitement and say to myself how I’d like to get the 2016 1-series coupe when it comes out. Then I froze. The immediate and ingrained reaction is — of course not, idiotic, how silly to say as such when my personal situation, needs, capabilities, lifestyle at that time coupled with the offerings of the market that I am yet unaware of in this moment and so on and so forth…..would make it highly unreasonable for me to declare as such now. It is further irrational given there is no benefit to speaking as such in this moment when the only thing we know for sure is that circumstances at the moment such an action is available (the coupe open for purchase) are sure to be different than they are today, sure it may be the way things unfold at that time however there is no benefit and possible detriment in planning on it at present.
More than the little things, I am allowing myself to become attached to people.
I find myself in little fantasies (occasionally) about moments years ahead with some.
Some things are not “present time” and some habituated ways of being perhaps no longer hold much value.
This blog is a step out of the habituated.
One day when I plant a little something, I hope I will be able to post about it here.