In short, this new age isn’t about living well; it’s about living wisely, for both ourselves and the next generation. Too many people got caught up in the idea that the more it cost, the better it was. You are lucky enough to make lots of money and buy a nice house, so why not a 30-room one with a basketball court, an indoor pool and an ice rink complete with Zamboni (à la hedge fund gazillionaire Steven Cohen)? Why reside in Manhattan when you could live in the Hamptons and take a helicopter to work each day, regardless of the pollution?
Everybody expected too much. I remember the days when no one thought the Dow would ever break 5,000. Then it was 10,000. Now everyone watches the stock market like a football game—and there have been lots of fumbles lately.
A flat-screen TV in every room, a gas-guzzling SUV, a private jet, a megayacht and the latest couture aren’t the end-all of life. Sure, they’re great if you can afford them, but more isn’t better—and your conscience has to deal with owning all that stuff while others are losing their jobs.
As for me, with the first snow flurries fluttering around, I’m taking pleasure in turning off unneeded lights, turning down the thermostat and throwing on another sweater (okay, it’s cashmere, I admit). It’s about time to rein things in, even as the chill deepens.
But there is good news. I spent the past few days planting daffodil and bluebell bulbs in the garden. There’s the warmth of spring to look forward to, when the flowers will always bloom.