It All Costs Somebody Something
Dear People Fighting To Be More Human,
We are accustomed to thinking in money. This trip to Baltimore costs me $100. These pants cost $35. It's a tidy way to organize value and make decisions.
But what if instead of dollars and cents we thought in hours and minutes.
That trip to Baltimore costs me 18 hours of driving plus 5 hours of work to earn the money to pay for it. That trip costs me 23 hours of my life, nearly one day. And since no one is awake 24/7 really it's more like 2 days of my waking life.
Or think of when we get something for free, like the really cool mug my wife got from local potter Brandon "Fuzzy" Schwartz (go buy some, it's durable, affordable, and beautiful) during an arts scavenger hunt. I know nothing of pottery but lets say that it took him an hour to make the mug. And then lets say that after chit chat and the inefficiencies of life, it took him another hour to deliver. Lets not forget the cost of the supplies–add $10 translated into a half hour of other work to earn the money. What was 'free' to us actually cost Brandon 2.5 hours of his life. If he were to 'give away' 10 mugs, he is essentially giving away 2 days of his waking life.
And lets not forget the thousands of unpaid hours in which he honed his craft to create things you couldn't come close to unless you yourself went through a decade or two of dedicated work.
I'm making a list of artists who have given me special moments in the past few years that have cost me absolutely nothing. Courtney and I are a few months away from turning a financial corner. Money isn't everything but I plan on compensating those artists for the price they've paid.
My potential motives here are obvious: Buy my music, pay for my stuff. Not saying that. In fact go buy a mug from Fuzzy. What I am saying is that we live in a world of seemingly free or at least very cheap and consequently very little value. It costs us nothing which also means that we get nothing. That is unless we stop for a moment and consider what the thing actually cost and whether or not we are really willing to let someone else pay that price for it on our behalf.
Grow Like Trees,