I thought yesterday about people I meet who take risks with their lives that I try to avoid. I do not mean the risks of life and limb that sky-diving or hang-gliding might involve.
I mean instead the mundane risks which require mundane action to meet. I think, sometimes, that it's easier to
fight a mountain lion than it is to plan for a time when no lions appear.
One sad truth is that individual folly--even well-meaning folly--can cause wreak a good bit of havoc that was entirely preventable.
I meet folks who had the ingredients for a materially workable life--good income, good health, and a good set of friends. But these folks find themselves on suffering's door not through an automobile collision or the on-set of cancer,
but through something as simple as a job layoff in the utter absence of any emergency savings.
It's so natural and so understandable to push the envelope on consumerism, because there are so many cool things to have, and one can so easily get a vision that "this is who I am". Even if it turns out the "Millionaire Next Door" runs a bug spray company and bought a house in a working class neighborhood, it's hard not to live up to or above one's pay level.
It seems to me that a thrifty flexibilty helps keep life a series of mischances that one can contend against rather than unadulterated misery each time something goes wrong. It's a boring, trite thing, but it's surprising how often many workaday problems can be met with a reserve of six months' take home pay in the savings account. Not all people can accumulate six months' pay. Some folks are lucky to keep food and housing on table and over head. But for many folks,
so many of the little tragedies in life are preventable.
Then one can deal with the true tragedies of life, such as life-threatening illness and death.
I am one of those people who thinks it's kinda cool when people take a financial risk, say, to open a business or
train for a new career. I think it's somehow part of a spirit I find admirable. I also think it's cool when folks downsize their lifestyles to leave time open for non-materialistic things. But I find meet folks from time to time for whom the pattern is "spend oneself into oblivion, and then be unhappy with the things one has bought".
A simple corollary to my thinking, though, hits closer to home for me. I don't exercise as much as I should, although I enjoy exercise and my health would benefit if I did.
That's such a simple way to fight the various little middle age things that crop up in my health from time to time.
But it's easier to worry about existential dilemmae than it is to simply care for oneself.
It's so easy to disregard one's own fortune. When one has one's health, one's active mind, and one's ability to do, one fails to appreciate what a gift that can be. There are other folks who have health issues and other personal limitations that seem unsolvable.
When I was a teen, my father would say "get your head out of the clouds". I live a pretty pragmatic life. But sometimes I feel I need to come down below cloud level,and just see and do the things before me.