The economics of time

I was planning to write a long-winded, ranty epistle today about this whole debt business today.  It would have included how ridiculous it is that both extreme sides of the US political ping-pong table are whining and moaning about how terrible a deal we ended up with while more moderate elected officials somehow attempt to spin it as good times for us Americans.

But then the Puddinette sent me a few camera-phones pictures of my kids playing in a ball pit.  They’re all smiles and painted faces, obviously without much in the way of care or concern, even with school starting in just 13 days.

There’s a lesson in there, I think, and I find that more often than not that’s the case with kids.  The one for today is pretty simple: play while you can; the world will come at you soon enough, there’s no need to anticipate it.

That could very well be the last picture of the PuddinPop in ball pit.  It could decided any day he’s too old for that kind of thing.  He’s going to start 3rd grade this year.  I know I’ve said it before, but for me, 3rd grade is when I’ve always noticed children stop being “little kids” and start being “little people”.

No, I don’t mean the ones on TLC.

There’s no magic start/finish line with kids, though.  It’s not like he’s just waiting for school to start before his internal maturity clock ticks past 12, gongs a few times, and triggers the cuckoo.  In fact, he and I were discussing the Reds the other day when I realized that I somehow missed the striking of that clock altogether.

As a parent, there’s a certain amount of pride that comes with such a realization.  But there’s definitely a kind of melancholy too.  He has his own life, now, his own interests.  There are things he wants to do, as opposed to things that I’d like to do that we could enjoy together.  Luckily, he still wants me and/or the Puddinette along with him most the time, but I can see where the road is leading.

The word for it is ‘independence’, although that doesn’t mean all the same things to me that it used to.  It’s what I’m supposed to want for my kids, though, right?  Admittedly, I do want it.  Just, you know, later.  Down the road.  A decade or two from now.

But here we are; 3rd grade already.  The tiny little lump that refused to sleep at night for the first two weeks of his life is suddenly entering 3rd grade, and there was but the blink of an eye between that moment and this one.  The kid that just last week, it seems like, could only pronounce one’s morning meal as “brefkist” just told me he thinks Dalton has a chance to lead the Bengals to quite a few wins this year.

Hey, I said maturity, not experience.

How do they grow so big, so fast, right before your eyes, and you hardly even notice it?  At this rate, I’m going to wake up next week and he’ll be leaving for college.  Hell, he’s already shopping SEC schools.

So, yes, the stock market might have tanked today, probably dragging down your 401k with it.  Yes, the current crop of elected idiots aren’t apparently interested or capable of addressing productive issues, like job creation or boosting middle class spending.   And yes, it’s going to be over a year before we’ll have a chance to vote out this class of fools and replace them another equally inept narcissistic bunch.

But there are a lot of days between now and then, days we could all spend with the ones that matter to us.  Days that will ultimately amount to an awful lot more than what the market gave back today.


One thought on “The economics of time

  1. Remember when your grandmother used to sit at the top of the dining room table and say “I started all this!”. Well, I would not go to that extreme, but I understand her thinking better now. I remember “a pay”, “uggy”, “ohoh, rainin out,” “utididy room” and everything from “mess, mess,mess” to “okiedokiechokie” — (that last one is from our St. Louis branch). Life is sometimes hard, but the blessings are MORE than 100 fold. And it sure beats shaking your fist at the sky (or Washington as the case may be!)


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