Many estates are spent in the getting,
Since women for tea forsook spinning and knitting,
And men for punch forsook hewing and splitting.
Thus Poor Richard explains in one of his famous almanacs. Read it again; 300 year old quotes sometimes require a couple readings to soak in.
Many estates are spent in the getting means that many people are spending, or never earning, great amounts of money; money which, if properly sown and cultivated, would provide that person a large living.
There is little question that human passions and desires (desires for things, leisure, and renown, for example) pull at us and cause us to spend excessively. How many times have you bought this year’s sandals when last year’s are still in perfect shape? How many times have you neglected work because you had already done enough to get by, even though a little more would provide exponential returns? Pushing past these desires and looking just a few minutes into the future can be an extremely profitable endeavor. If you begin to look, you’ll find small amounts of money turning up under all manner of rocks.
Since women for tea forsook spinning and knitting, and men for punch forsook hewing and splitting. How often have you chosen a social engagement over completing the task at hand? How often have you chosen to toss back a few at the expense of a profitable enterprise? If you’re like me, this happens all too frequently. We can’t forgo all pleasure, of course, and unhappy is the man who makes the attempt. Nevertheless, we should make every effort to complete our work before engaging in other activities. Have you performed your job superbly? Have you hit your quota for the week? If so, your leisure will be sweet; if not, the most luxurious of locations will not make you feel truly relaxed.
Follow Poor Richard’s advice. Work diligently until your work is done. And then sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
This post originally appeared in the August 15, 2007 edition of the Greenhorn Valley View.