Friday, March 30, 2012

Existentialism and Other Million Dollar Words

OK, so it's been more than 30 years since I've been lectured at. Sue me. One class at the University of Oregon, however, still has a certain resonance. Existentialism was the name of the class. To me, it is a million dollar word that means don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today. You are not going to live forever. Sure, don't be silly and go into debt, stick your head in the financial toilet and have your creditors flush. But when a window of opportunity opens, when you can spend one less dollar than you make, following Dickens law, step through it.

Teri and I have stepped through windows of opportunity frequently in our nearly four years together. And we plan to continue doing that. At present, we are contemplating mini-vacations to Hood River and Pendleton, maybe even purchasing a sauna. I'm inclined to go ahead, especially once we have all the credit cards paid off and are living on a strictly cash basis. My dad and Teri's mom died of cancer much too young. The same fate may wait us. Yet, if we take good care of ourselves and each other, if we eat and sleep right, if we lift weights and burn and do aerobics and sweat, we are likely to live much longer. Part of it is luck of the draw. Part of it is making more good choices than bad each day — and keeping our fingers and legs crossed.

The important thing for us, since we are both of modest means, is to stretch every dollar as much as possible. To pinch our pennies until Abraham Lincoln shrieks. To have fun with frugality.

However, if there is something we would use the heck out of, that would improve our quality of life, we need to exercise our option. Life is short.

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