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In praise of idleness.

Happy Friday, folks. It’s J.D. here with one last installment of Apex Money before we head into the weekend.

It’s been over six months now since I’ve written regularly at Get Rich Slowly, my personal-finance blog. I don’t really miss it. I miss interacting with folks, but I don’t miss the work. I’ve entered another phase of my life. I don’t know what that phase is, but it’s not writing about money. Maybe for a little while, this phase of life is simply about idleness.

This week, I’ve had several conversations with folks about the virtues of doing nothing.

“Doing nothing” seems wrong to me. It goes against everything I’ve been taught. It goes against my inner nature. Sure, I’ve shirked a lot of responsibility in my life, no doubt. I don’t deny it. But I’ve always felt guilty for doing so. It’s never been something I’ve embraced. Now, though, I’m beginning to wonder if I ought not give myself permission to loaf.

As I dive into this soul-searching, I’m guided in part by what little Buddhist thought I’ve been exposed to. I like the idea of just being and not judging myself for what that happens to bring. Just exist. Be present in the moment. Enjoy the world around me and the people I’m with. Live.

Too, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own mortality. I’m 54 now. That’s five years older than my father was when he died. It’s twenty years younger than my mother was when she died. The reality is that I don’t have decades left to me. I have maybe two. What’s the point of spending that time doing things I don’t want to do and worrying about what other people think. I want to do what I want to do, you know?

Part of this means spending some of my money now. In the world of personal finance, we talk a lot about saving and investing. A lot of what we read and write condemns spending, especially if the spending is on luxuries. We’re made to feel bad for using the money we’ve earned to improve our lives. Well, I think that’s bullshit. I worked hard for what I have, and if I want to use some of it to buy, say, a pair of $300 shoes, then I’m going to buy a pair of $300 shoes. There’s nothing wrong with that. The trouble comes if I’m trying to buy a pair of $300 shoes with money I don’t have.

Anyhow, these are the things I’m thinking about.

I know this isn’t a typical installment of Apex Money. So far, I haven’t given you any links. And, in fact, I’m only going to give you one link today…and it’s to an article published in 1932.

“In praise of idleness.” [Bertrand Russell in Harper’s Magazine] — “It will be said that while a little leisure is pleasant, men would not know how to fill their days if they had only four hours’ work out of the twenty-four. In so far as this is true in the modern world it is a condemnation of our civilization; it would not have been true at any earlier period. There was formerly a capacity for light-heartedness and play which has been to some extent inhibited by the cult of efficiency. The modern man thinks that everything ought to be done for the sake of something else, and never for its own sake.”

That’s it. That’s your only article for today, and it’s ninety years old. But it’s an excellent, through-provoking piece from a Nobel Prize winning philosopher. You should go read it. It’ll be fifteen minutes well spent. I promise. Even if you don’t agree with it, you’ll get something out of it…

Before I go, here’s a non-financial video that has me giddy. It’s the official trailer for Dune Part Two.

I’ve been a Dune fan for a long, long time and the first film is a personal fave (though, to be fair, I didn’t like it on first viewing). So, I’m eagerly awaiting the second part’s arrival in theaters on November 3.

Okay, that’s all I have for you this week. I’ll be back in ten days with more great stuff. See you then!