Practicing Sobriety

This past week I stumbled on a link from the Google homepage to the film HUMAN by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. The filmmaker spent three years collecting real-life stories from 2,000 women and men in 60 countries. Since I’m a pretty big fan of documentaries and listening to other people’s stories, I found the first volume (there are 3 volumes) riveting and beautifully done.

There are tons of insightful quotes from different individuals throughout – but one really caught my attention because it pertains to personal finance and our culture here in America.

It’s towards the end of the first movie – and the man seated in front of the camera is rather humble looking and appears a bit down-trodden. He is the former President of Uruguay – and was called the “Pauper President” as he gave 90% of his income to charity because – as he said – he “didn’t need it.” He spent 10 years in solitary confinement for fighting in a guerrilla war during the 1960s.

Here’s what he learned during that confinement:

Either you are happy with very little, without overburdening yourself, because you have happiness inside – or you’ll get nowhere.

I am not advocating poverty. I am advocating sobriety

When I buy something, or when you buy it, we’re not paying with money, we’re paying with the time from our lives we had to spend to earn the money.

The difference is that you can’t buy life.

Life just goes by and it’s terrible to waste your life losing your freedom.

Here’s to a thriftier life – and more freedom.

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