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Updated: Jan 18, 2021

Each day a new amount of existential capital is available to us to use any way we see fit. Sometimes we wake up and we’ve already spent our capital because of something we either did or didn’t do the day (or month or year) before. But most days, we wake up with some and we get to use it. It doesn’t carry over to the next day, though. Not how life works. You either use it or lose it on a daily basis.

Assuming we’re good stewards, after awhile, we start to receive larger deposits of capital, which means that opportunities to spend it increase, and so does the responsibility to spend it. Here, savers are not rewarded.

How you spend your capital, of course, is entirely up to you, and it depends largely on your disposition and circumstances. If you’re a middle-aged mother of three living in Akron, Ohio and you belong to the local bingo club at the Lutheran church down the street and you’ve lived a somewhat predictable life for the past 37 years, then maybe you spend your capital by donating some of your bingo winnings to your son’s school’s art and music program. Or maybe you take your youngest out of pre-school early one day and spend the morning playing around on the monkey bars at the local park. If you’re a middling fund manager at an accounting firm in New York and you spend your days trying to make yourself and others money and most evenings indulging your appetite for women and liquor, then maybe you spend your capital calling your mother and telling her you love her. Or maybe you forgo the trip to the local watering hole one evening and take a walk in Central Park instead for the purpose of reflecting on the fact that you’re living a privileged life in the most exciting city on the planet, and this walk is your little way of offering thanks to the fates or the gods or the universe or Jesus or Whomever for having been dealt this rather improbable hand.

If we practice this art, we learn what Jacob Marley didn’t (and what his business partner Ebeneezer Scrooge did, in the nick of time): the Total Abstinence Principle.

Bored? Feeling some ennui? Existentially blue? Go spend some capital. Release yourself of some of the burden you’ve accumulated over a lifetime. Go to bed a little lighter on the existential scale tonight. Rest easy. Give yourself away.

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