Value of Our Lives
Contributed by guest author, John York
One of the things I love most about writing is the connection to other authors. Often, these fellow writers come out of nowhere, a story about bugs and rodents, or the value of our families, our history, our possessions and the stories attached to each item we gift to others.
John York, esteemed author of The Eighth Day, Billy Bean's Ghost, Trouble in Choctaw County, Wolf's Tale, Mind Meld, Journey to Eden, and Five Watches, is my guest author. John connected to my Food for Thought, Artifacts of My Life.
In The Meaning of Value John sums up his own conversation with his family, beautifully and tenderly teaching me fresh lessons on the value of Artifacts of Our Lives.
Value of Our Lives, by John York "I don’t recall Value of Our Lives, exactly. What got me thinking about value, began a couple weeks ago. Maybe it was my daughter’s and grandchildren’s visit. It could have been one or more of the news stories about the current economic issues, or perhaps it was all the time I had to contemplate the cosmos during our recent cruise on the Upper Mississippi River.
Just recently, we transferred our retirement investment accounts to a local wealth management firm. It was that term, wealth management, that prompted me to zero in on the meaning of value. When someone speaks to you about managing wealth, they’re talking about money—not necessarily coins and currency, but anything you own that can be valued by assigning an estimate of monetary worth.
In my May blog, I reflected on some of the things that constitute wealth, which I believe go well beyond money and possessions. In order to determine wealth by virtue of riches other than gold, however, one must spend time contemplating the value of those possessions.
Did you know that there is a thing called value theory? Yeah, it’s a study of how, why, and to what degree humans value things and whether the object or subject of valuing is a person, idea, object, or anything else. It even has a fancy name: axiology—the study of the nature of value. There are also several different methods for ordering values into a hierarchy. I’m flashing back to a time when I sat down with my employees to help them establish career objectives by defining and ordering the professional traits and experiences they considered valuable into one of those hierarchical models.
I don’t have to think about value in the context of a career anymore. Now, in my “August years”, I find it much more fulfilling to consider all the things that are valuable to me that I never seemed to have time to think about in the past. For example, I have an old John Deere hat that I value, but I’m pretty sure everyone else would throw it away if they happened to find it in their house. As I sit here thinking about all the “important” things I’ve accumulated over the years, I realize that they are only valuable to me.
Jayne Lisbeth, author of the excellent book Writing in Wet Cement, wrote about a similar topic, “Artifacts Of My Life”, in her June blog (https://www.jaynelisbeth.com/post/artifacts-of-my-life), and I thought she summed it up very nicely. She wrote, “It’s up to my kids to go through the safety deposit boxes of our existences. They can clean out the detritus of our lives and hearts”. She has an eloquent way with words.
"So, all those nostalgic keepsakes that remind me of my life will be relegated to my heirs and they will ultimately apply a new set of criteria to determine what’s valuable when I’m gone. In an effort to tip the scales in my
John as Indiana Jones
favor, I sat my daughter and grandchildren down in my study while they were visiting and listed all of the things that I thought they should consider valuable, complete with the stories behind each item. To their credit, they feigned interest, demonstrated a modicum of enthusiasm, kept their cell phones in their pockets, and laughed at my funny stories. They’re so good to me.
The bottom line: valuable possessions are great to own, and money certainly makes life a little easier in many ways. But money can’t buy happiness, although it can buy wine, which kind of the same thing. Just kidding. Family, love, health, friends, a good neighborhood, a sense of humor, a decent working brain, and much more: those are the real valuable things that make me feel wealthy. Giving some serious thought about those things in your life that are truly valuable is a very worthwhile endeavor. I highly recommend it.
Think of it this way. Money is one of those tangible things that is given an ‘assigned’ value: a one-dollar bill equals one dollar of purchasing power (of course, to be accurate, you have to apply the ratio of the base index value to the yearly index value using the Consumer Price Index and subtract the rate of inflation). Whereas a book not only possesses a tangible monetary value based on its original price (and accounting for a reasonable depreciation of value over time and use), but it also possesses the inherent value of the human thoughts it contains—which may be priceless!
I’m sure most of you can see that a book, therefore, is an incredibly solid investment of significant value. Act now!
By the way, Jayne Lisbeth’s next book, Raising the Dead, will also be releasing in August. You still have time to purchase and read her current book, Writing in Wet Cement, before the new one is released!
Oh, did I mention that you should also purchase my book? Five Watches: An Accident of Time, Release Date, August 15, 2023. You can pre-order right now!
Be good to each other – and READ A BOOK!
Published Books by John York:
The Eighth Day: A New Order
Billy Bean's Ghost
Trouble In Choctaw County
Journey to Eden: Winner of FAPA President's Award
Five Watches: An Accident in Time, Release Date August 15, 2023
John York: amazon.com/author/johnr.york;
Website - https://johnryork.com;
Blog page - https://hohnyork/my-blog
Member of the Florida Authors and Publishers Association