Live To Live or Live To Die?

Angel

In The New York Times today, David Brooks presents “two sets of virtues, the resume virtue and the eulogy virtue.”


The resume virtues are the skills you need to get ahead in the marketplace, and the eulogy virtues are “whether you were kind, brave, honest, or faithful.”


While we’d like to believe that most feel that being a decent human being is more important than how much money we earn, unfortunately our education and economic systems are geared far more toward the latter, where it’s widely acknowledged that “money makes the world go round!”


In fact, many will often sacrifice the moral high ground for landing on a bigger, cushier hill of worldly possessions and pleasures. 


Interestingly enough, my daughter asked me last week, whether it is better to personally live a happy life but die with a horrible reputation or to live selflessly, struggling with life challenges, but be revered after you die?


To me the answer was simple–live, learn, and grow regardless of momentary personal happiness. Do what’s right, period–honor and chivalry is alive and well. 


But my daughter told me that over 90% of people polled chose their happiness in life as their #1 goal.


I suppose it’s easy to say what’s the point of leaving a legacy if you were not happy living your life every day, but I would counter with what’s the point in chasing life’s daily pleasures, if you were a bum and everyone knows it?


The point isn’t even what people say about us when we are alive or dead, but rather that we know that we tried our best to live as decent, ethical human beings and that hopefully, we left the world a better place than when we got here.


Sure, there is no blessing in being poor or unhappy–but living purely to satisfy one’s voracious materialistic appetite is just being a selfish little pig–come on admit it!


On your deathbed, will you wish you that in your life you had more money and status or that you had been a better, more giving human being? 


I say forget the resume and the eulogy, just think about what will really gives you peace of mind and inner happiness and it’s more than any amount of money can buy or any seduction you can imagine.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Have It When You Need it

Candy_machine

At an event that I attended recently, I heard a young woman explain her philosophy on life.

She said, her grandmother taught her: “Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.”

Thinking about it at the time, it seemed pretty wise–because you never want to be without something you really need. 

And good planning and survival skills say to always be prepared–you never know what happens. 

But then with the fiscal cliff and all the talk about social entitlements, I started to think about this some more. 

In a sense, as a society, we have come to think of social entitlements as something that we better have in case we need it–Unemployment Insurance, Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid and more. 

You never know when it’s your turn to get laid off, sick, old, or needy. 

And isn’t that what’s it for–it’s a safety net–these are like personal insurance and you never want to need the coverage and not have it. 

But as we should know by now, having it–doesn’t come for free. 

So the question is how much social entitlements or insurance do you need–and part of the answer is how much can you afford. 

So is it really better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it–if you can’t afford what you’re buying?  

In this case, our grandparents and parents having it and not really needing all of it–may mean that we and our children will not be able to have it when we do need it. 

To have social entitlements, we need to be able to pay into the system for it or borrow to finance it. 

Unfortunately, as a nation we have been doing more borrowing, because we have spent beyond our national means–we have even raided our very own social entitlement programs that we hold so dear, to pay for other things–maybe that’s why they call it a trust fund, because you really do have to trust, almost blindly, that there will be something there, when it’s your time to need it. 

It’s great to have it, but if we are gluttons and don’t responsibly plan for genuine needs–then as a nation, we really will be left needing and not having it when the time comes.

In short, spend all your money to soon, and tragically, there won’t be any candy later. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Putting Children Above Ourselves

Folk_festival

What a distorted editorial this morning in the Wall Street Journal called “What’s Really Behind the Entitlement Crisis.”

Oh, thank goodness (NOT) that we have these pundit-types to tell us what’s “really” happening and feed us their self-serving “proofs.”

Anyway, the author, Ben Wattenberg, contends that we all are suffering a decline in standard of living because we don’t have enough children.

He actually advocates that we have more children to bear the burden of our waste, fraud, and abuse and inability to live within our means.

The author writes: “Never-born babies are the root cause of the ‘social deficit’ that plagues nations across the world and threaten to break the bank in many.”

Never mind that current world population of over 7 billion people is anticipated to rise above 9 billion by 2050, and we continue to spoil and deplete our world’s limited resources already.

The author selfishly contends that “Declining birth rates mean there are not enough workers to support retirees.”

Unfortunately, the author ignores that if current and prior workers and politicians did not spend down the balances in social security to finance other pork-barrel political initiatives, then each workers savings would still be there to support their retirement, and we would not have to rely on future generations to make up the difference by spending their savings to support our prior excesses and waste.

Wattenberg ends by saying that “The real danger for the future is too few births.”

Like a glutton, he advocates that we eat more in order to keep trying to satiate our insatiable spending needs.

When I was a kid, my father used to joke about eating too much and say we should do some push-ups–push the the table (with all the food) away from us!

No, like teenagers on day time TV shows, who contend that they want to have children because they feel it is their “way out” of their problems and only then they will be loved and be able to love, and the TV show host puts them in a program with a fake baby that cries and makes at all the inconvenient hours of the day and night, does the teenager realize that having (more) children is not the answer to their problems, but actually may only increase their problems.

Having more children as a nation–we already average about 2 per family–in order to finance our retirements and entitlements through the development of another generation of a slave labor pool is completely misguided.

Have children for the right reasons–out of genuine love and a commitment to give–not to receive.

Mr. Wattenberg does not seem to care if children are brought into the world of broken families, poverty, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, molestation and incest, homelessness, and separation and divorce, because Wattenberg’s standard of living is at stake.

Bring children into a world that is giving, loving, and sustainable.

Safeguard life, but don’t recklessly encourage birth.

Birth is a privilege of the young, not an entitlement for the elderly.

(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)