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Substance or Style?  Existence or Experience?

There is room for both in our big old world, and lots of leeway should be provided for the varying definitions we’ll find of the word style, or at least its incarnations as experience.  But it’s a false choice.

Think about it this way: You’ve gone on vacation with your family or friends and one of you has a camera.  Instead of stopping the experience every hundred or so feet to take a picture, take a few candid snaps and then put the thing away.  There’s no reason to document every bite of food, every star on the walk of fame or every monument you pass by.  God, get a history book, one with lots of photos.  Get stickers of yourself made and just slap them in that – save everyone a lot of hassle.

The same goes for trinkets and knick-knacks.  If we’re not talking about Chanel or Hermès, then these are no more substantive than a poorly-lit, blurry photo of the Mona Lisa and the jostling crowds in front of her.  Send postcards instead, or bring some back – they actually have some utility while demonstrating the thoughtfulness you had while away.

Savor the ephemeral, and leave the ephemera behind.

But on the other hand, don’t get carried away by the experiential.  In the material world, the best thing is to be timeless instead of trendy.  Buy the best you can afford and take care of it.  Classics are classics for a reason, and you should invest in longevity.  That’s not to say you can’t accessorize with shocking novels or clothing with a limited life-span, but these shouldn’t be the lion’s share of your library or wardrobe.

Seek to find balance between what you want to own and what you want to do, and don’t look down your nose at people who haven’t figured that balance out yet.

That’s my job.


Happy New Year!



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