“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
There was a time when I could describe exactly what my life would look like in 5, 10, 15, and 20 years. It felt so grown up and reassuring. I was the man with the plan.
There was a time when I envisioned a beautiful home with a yard. It had windows overlooking an ocean. It’d be mine. I could wake up to it every day.
There was a time when I owned a car and wanted to buy an even nicer one. I held my smartphone, but wanted a newer one. I was obsessed with latest upgrades and features.
There was a time when I looked at my ratty spiral notebook and needed a chic Moleskine. Imagine what it would be like to write in those acid-free pages and flip open that iconic cover.
Largely, those days of desire without logical reason are dying out. I’m no longer urgently pursuing or planning for material possessions. Nowadays, the white picket fence isn’t for me, and I’ve finally realized why.
Life is exceptionally fragile and short. Think about it, our 70, 80, or 90 years represent but a fraction of the Earth’s existence. We are little blips on this planet, and unrecognizably small objects within this solar system, galaxy, and universe.
From the time we exit the womb, we are bombarded with messages that demand our attention. They don’t stop until we do. All five of our senses are put into warp drive, as they begin to process everything around us. Despite our relative insignificance, we cling to material goods and messages — buying whatever we can afford and socking away the rest for rainy days.
These messages beg us to consume, own, and carve out space. They tell us that, with maturity and income, you should own a residence. We are expected — from employers to families to spouses — to buy a car to get to work. But ownership is a figment of our capitalistic imaginations. In this economy, it’s easy to be pulled into a mental trap of expectations and hopes for a possessive future.
Each step countering the current culture of consumption is like running into a 50-mph headwind — you’re not moving fast. Bucking the status quo means isolating yourself from society’s expectations of amassing wealth. But the reality is we don’t own anything — ever. I mean it!
We are simply temporary custodians — holders — of physical objects that we lug around. We fill containers, storage warehouses, and entire homes with stuff. We bear witness to various forms of mass, but all fade — like us. Even the most prized possessions will transfer to someone else or perish. No matter how much home and life insurance we take out, we will eventually pass away.
Truthfully, we rent this life. It’s not solely ours to destroy, abuse, love, and cherish. We share this rental with everyone. Any rental necessitates respect. Destroy another’s property or object, and you’ll be on the hook to replace and/or fix it.
There’s more to life than amassing more than thy neighbor. Forego the mortgages, down payments, and constant maintenance. Choose a life that honors and recognizes everyone. When we rent this life, we recognize that we are just maintaining it for future generations.