‘I cannot believe you spent 70$ for that little thing!’ said my mom as I unwrapped my brand-new, shiny copper pot.
Her astonishment was quite understandable. Not because of the cost of the copper pot per se, but because I have always been a very sore spender. I am a person who very unwillingly spends money on anything that is not strictly necessary to a specific purpose (E.g: this year, I only bought two pair of pants, and that was because two other pair I owned got ripped and the actual risk of walking the streets with my butt exposed was not to be overlooked). I treasure what I own and try my best to replace stuff only when no other choice is given.
Still, when I decided to purchase the copper pot, I did not flinch one bit.
I realized that my mother sees these unexplainable outbursts of shopping revelries as an invisible-yet-disturbing needle in the haystack; as she would see a loose button on her perfectly-frugal-daughter’s spotless blazer.
Hence, her incredulous glance made me stop and think about what made me decide to buy that pot with no doubt or question asked. Why was I always so wary about spending money, but could shell out relatively large amounts on occasional items that I absolutely fell in love with?
I work with still-life photography, and I know that a copper pot could add a totally different value to my photos. I do love my photos, and I do love anything that can add value to them.
That copper pot could add value to something that is dear to me: this is how my copper pot went from being a purchase to being an investment.
The same idea can be applied to time and energy as well (is it not a wonderful coincidence that a copper pot heats faster, thus saving money, time and energy?) Wasting money is bad, but wasting time and energy is oftentimes much worse.
I do not like to spend money, time and energy, because if I spend them rather than investing them, they are very likely to go to waste.
Waste is a list of things that creates clutter in our life without being useful. Some of the elements on said list may be: outdated centerpieces. Thingamabobs lined up on your shelves. Plastic bags. Bad wedding photos. The illusion of saving money when buying stuff you actually don’t need (prepackaged snacks serve a perfect example). Feeling compelled to have an opinion on everything and exerting the effort of stating it on Facebook every time.
Last-minute, thoughtless Christmas gifts, and the following exchange of affection from which you so diligently try to scrape the rust off every year. The life in the eyes of those who look outside a window wishing they were somewhere else, like travelers who returns empty-handed from their journeys.
We live, resting our cheek on a rough pillow made of pointless things. And, when we open our eyes and manage to see the things that we should keep closest to our soul, it feels like a happy dream. Once I’ve ruled out all that is useless, I am left with more money, time and energy to invest in something that actually creates value. This is what an investment it: money, time and energy spent for something that will give you back twofold, threefold, tenfold of what you put in.
We spend money, time and energy every day. And we spend the same, wether it’s for investment or pointless things. It is therefore our own responsibility to invest as much as possible and spend as little as possible.
So I tell myself this: ‘drop the spending, and learn to invest your resources. Meditate. Read. Walk. Bake. Stop worrying. Light a candle, call friends, learn something new. Invest at least 10 minutes of your time every day into something that you truly, genuinely like, and that makes you feel enriched. Then expand those 10 minutes to your whole life.’
‘Stop wasting and spending money, time, energy. Now.
Invest them. Create value.