Friday, July 04, 2008

Living in the then

It dawned on me this morning about the accumulative effective of life. We are where we are because of where we've been. I realize this after sifting through lots of memories in search of clues as to who I am and why.

You don't realize this when you are young. How could you? Your life bank account has barely begun accumulating interest when you are young. It is only after years of living that you realize you are standing upon the shoulders of experience. Or mired in it.

So I'm not buying blaming things on circumstances. As Jimmy Buffet, my philosopher of choice says, "Some people claim that there's a woman to blame, but I know, it's my own damned fault." Because shit doesn't just happen. You set the stage for it.

And I'm not saying it's your fault if a meteorite hits your house and kills you when you were sleeping. I'm saying if you don't finish high school (or college these days) then you aren't going to get a decent paying job. And if you don''t have a decent paying job, you aren't going to be able to afford a house. And if you can't afford a house, you aren't going to have anything to sell and buy a better house. And if you don't ever have a better house than you aren't going to have anything when you are too old to work that crappy job you had because you didn't get a good education.

Everybody makes mistakes. The trick is not making the same mistake over and over. So if you mess up and don't do anything to correct it, you are going build on that mistake. But if you correct the mistake, you have a new foundation to build on. You've changed the future.

I bought a house when I was 30 years old. I sold it when I was 48 for enough to put a down payment on a much nicer house for my wife and I. And we had enough left over that allowed us to afford adopting our daughter without going into debt. And we have a house big enough for our daughter and the son we are expecting.

These things were the cumulative effect of doing something positive back when I was 30 and didn't have a clue 20 years later I'd have a wonderful family that would benefit from my decision to invest in a house. If I could go back and give advice to the young me (and knew that the young me would listen), I'd tell him that everything you do matters. Karma is not a metaphysical concept of punishment and reward. It is natural law of cause and effect. Just living in the now is like driving a car at 70 mph on the freeway with a blindfold on. It's a guaranteed accident waiting to happen.

I'd also tell me to invest in Microsoft and Starbucks stock.


Hayden said...

not google?

Time said...

I was old enough to know about Google, just not smart or rich enough.

Karen said...

I was going to say that if I had my time again I would do a lot of things differently, would have been wiser with money AND men to name just two things. Then I realised that wouldn't necessarily make my life better, it would just have set me on a completely different path.

I think I like the path I'm already on so will be grateful for all my mistakes and little triumphs that led me to where I am today....mostly anyway :)

Time said...

That's the age old question, if you could do it all over again, would you? There are definitely things I would have done differently if I'd known the consequences. But then again if we knew everything that was going to happen to us would we ever leave the house?