“The life which depends on great wealth is like a winter torrent. It is turbulent, difficult to cross, tyrannical, noisy and brief.” – Epictetus
In reality all of our lives are brief. We are here for a short time relative to the world around us and the going-ons of our species. Book-ended by events that come before and events that come after, our own lives will touch on a very small part of human history. A lot can and likely will happen during that period but it is a small piece regardless.
Still, in these short lives we can get a taste of luxury. And we can become quite acquired to the taste of these things. We can even let the little luxuries we get to experience in this life become our end goal rather than viewing them as distractions and amusements.
When we chose to make the acquisition of wealth our life goal we take on the risk that we will create a life that becomes dependent on that wealth. Wealth is not something we have as much control over as we might think. Markets change based on factors we can not control, the value of homes and goods can plummet and we are left wondering what just happened. Huge amounts of wealth can disappear overnight when these markets take sharp turns. If our lives are dependent on this wealth, they could be destroyed.
Living lives dependent on something so outside our own control creates stress, worry, and unrest. It will inevitably give us reasons to consider doing things that lie outside of our own standards in order to preserve that wealth.
Instead we should make our lives dependent on the things we do control and enjoy the luxuries we attain in life for what they are. Extras.
virtus fortis vocat