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Mr. Maroon

September 11, 2014

I Work to Live…

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I don’t live to work. Anybody else ever said that?

I reluctantly started my working life in October 1995, at the age of fifteen, as a sacker at a local grocery store. All in all, it wasn’t a bad job, except I remember that it consumed my personal life. Almost every evening after school and every weekend grudgingly traded for money, which was then eagerly traded for stuff. Throughout the years, the salary has improved, but the sacrifice remains. It’s a quite simple process, really: To get what you want, you have to sacrifice.

It’s practically a rule of life I never questioned. I’ve never known someone to ever say any different. And in the ultra consumerism-driven society of today, what would make anyone think otherwise?

So, I learned from an early age to measure my sacrifices by what I wanted. For example, at age sixteen, a truck payment of $115 would require that I sacrifice approximately twenty two hours of minimum wage work. Eventually, at age eighteen, a *NEW TRUCK* payment of $365 would require approximately forty hours in trade at a minimally improved wage. Shit! I’d doubled my sacrifice with essentially zero benefit to me. And it stuck with me. Particularly when I started my professional career, I frequently justified each (truly unnecessary) purchase solely in terms of the number of hours or days that I needed to work to earn the cost of the new toy. I cannot tell you how many times Mrs. Maroon and I talked about purchases solely in terms of hours of work. If only I’d recognized the lesson fifteen years ago. But I had a reason…


I feared I’d live my entire life in regret if I didn’t enjoy every material possession my heart desired. This idea stuck with me until that fateful day in December when everything changed.

My desperation that day came from the long-awaited realization that work consumes my personal life. That fact has also been painfully obvious over the past week or so. In just the last ten days, I have been robbed of my personal time by work obligations on six different occasions. Work no longer affords me what I want. Rather, it stands in the way…

My outlook on purchases has taken a full 180 degree turnaround. Now, I measure purchases by the number of hours of freedom they cost me. Despite the fact that we still have a couple years of working ahead of us, I am comforted (on most days) by the fact that we have found our ‘age of enlightenment’. And I am relieved that I will no longer feel the pangs of regret from buying the junk that fills our house.

~Mr. Maroon

The Day Has Arrived!
The Value of Value

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