Nietzsche Not withstanding, God is Not Dead , Yet. But She’s Got A Very Large Tumor. Part VIII Notes From A Ride (1) (Climate ride, California, 10/5/2011)

Today was a bad day on a very hard bike trip.  Not that the ride has been the problem.  It’s been difficult, for sure–rain, steep grades,long distances, brake malfunctions, etc.–but the real problem has been much deeper.  Today it was deepest of all.
Yesterday I realized how important it is that I begin regarding the expenditure of my remaining time as preciously as I used to regard the expenditure of money.  Today I was confronted with just how old I really am.
I used to hold my financial resources tightly to my breast.  I was always frugal, never engaging in extravagances, and took pride in my freedom from the dependence on money that so many who weren’t nearly so careful about need and waste as I was obvious lacked.
But, one day last year, it occurred to me that, although we obviously have more time than money when we are born, it’s the other way around on the day we die.  Somewhere in the middle of our lives, the balance switches.  Very few of us, at least in the west, die penniless, and fewer, still, with no resources at all.
And, while you have no control of any of “your” money on the day you come into the world, which is often at the heart of my “more time than money” observation, the exact same thing is true the second after you die.
There’s always been, and will always be, a 100% “death tax.”
If, during your lifetime, you misjudge where the balance lies between how much time is left you and how much more money you’ll be needing, so that you end up losing control of a sizable amount when you die, then you clearly had too much money when you passed.
I’m 67, have a pretty reliable pension, and enough cash in savings that I’m about as confident as I could reasonably expect to be that I will die with a positive financial balance.  Assuming I’m right in that evaluation, I’m already in a place where I’d have to say I have too much money even now.
But I’ve been learning lately that sharing that observation with others is a mistake.  If I tell someone I think that I have too much money, they think I’m looking for ways of divesting myself of it, and instantly start regarding me as a means of improving their own balance sheet, which they’ve been inculcated into regarding as always inadequate.
But that’s never been my point.
Yesterday I thought of a different way to describe my circumstance that more accurately reflects the reality:  “I’ve more money than time, and not nearly enough of either.”  At least not to effectively work toward my life’s goal, saving Gaia’s life.
In sharing my realization about my own circumstance, I hope to make the reader realize his/her circumstances are likely quite similar.  You may, or may not, have a similar goal for your legacy, but whether you are working toward your own goals must surely stand in the same relationship to the question.  There is, after all, no better measure of what your goals are than whether you’re spending both time and money on them.
But the realization of just how old I’ve become, which seems to be what today’s “bad day” was about, is very depressing.  My deterioration has been accelerated by M.S., but the process is no different than what the rest of my generation, the baby boomers, are all either going through already or will shortly encounter.
The particular symptom I encountered today is more information than you need to know, but suffice it to say that it brings my ability to successfully lead any kind of popular movement into the realm of the fantastic.   Intellectually, there should be no surprise here, for I’ve long recognized that my lifetime is not on the same scale as the project calls for.  But the undeniable physical barrier to a leadership role implies I have to find and execute an entirely different plan from the one I originally imagined.

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2 Responses to Nietzsche Not withstanding, God is Not Dead , Yet. But She’s Got A Very Large Tumor. Part VIII Notes From A Ride (1) (Climate ride, California, 10/5/2011)

  1. Hank Raymond says:

    Well, there’s always the “annuity” option. I’ve thought about that myself. I think you can put all your money into an annuity and get a guaranteed income for life no matter how long you live, but when you die, you leave nothing on the table. Doesn’t that solve the problem of having too much money when you die or not enough money in the last years of your life?
    -Hank

  2. George says:

    Hank:

    How is this any different from a will written with the beneficiaries being whomever it is that picks up whatever is left on the table at the instant of death?

    It sounds more like an attempt to avoid any inheretance tax than anything.

    In any case, it doesn’t address my point: when you die, you lose control over whatever you had control over in this life. Wills and annuities, etc. will or will not be honored according to circumstances whose conditions are independent of your existence.

    Your will may attempt to indicate what you would do if you somehow were able to die and continue living at the same time, but that is purely hypothetical, and probably utter BS in any case.

    If you want to give money to something or somebody, why not just do it? It would, I think, make for a much better world.

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