During my senior year in high school, I participated in the hilarious comedy farce The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder. The Matchmaker eventually inspired the Hello, Dolly! musical, so I already had some familiarity with the characters and the overall premise of the show.
However, what I didn’t remember was a thought-provoking quote by Dolly Levi herself delivered in the second act.
“Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around, encouraging young things to grow.”
I’m not sure I’d ever compare anything in life to animal dung used as fertilizer, but it certainly does get the point across in this writer’s opinion.
The sentiment comes at an interesting point in my life for with age and wisdom comes an internal struggle between financial responsibility, self-indulgence and charity. At least for most of us that is.
As we enter our mid 40s, our perspective regarding money changes. You realize the years are getting shorter and shorter to save the kind of money one needs to live a comfortable, independent life in retirement.
But after working hard and sacrificing for over twenty years, we also believe we deserve to entertain a few extravagances here and there – I mean after all, we’ve earned it, right?
And while many of us toe-the-line between that financial responsibility and self-indulgence, few of us ever lose sleep over our reluctance towards charity.
Age and wisdom bring something else to some people and that’s an understanding of just how fortunate we truly are in comparison to much of society and even the world.
Age and wisdom help one see that we hoard our blessings in order to satisfy our own material wants and desires – amassing more and more possessions that do very little at the end of the day to bring joy or fulfillment to our lives.
It seems we only entertain “charity” when there’s some kind of benefit to ourselves, otherwise we give very little of the gifts which have been given to us.
If at the end of your life, the only thing you’ve done with your good fortunate is further your own narcissistic hunger for money and possessions have you really lived a full life at all?
The reality is, how could you when the only life you’ve improved has been your own.