why i want to cap my income

for better or worse, most of favorite reading is comes from black feminist women or old white transcendental men. in some ways, this is surprising. in other ways, it’s totally not. go figure. 

anyway, i was instructed to read walden by henry david thoreau a long time ago. although it was long and rambly, one thing has stuck with me: his thoughts on economic needs, work, and time.

essentially, thoreau believed that most people in the world worked too much. he believed that the increased standard of living from working a lot wasn’t even close to worth it. he thought people should figure out exactly what their basic needs were and then work enough to meet them. at that point, they should stop working and actually enjoy life. for him, this came out to working about six weeks a year. he then took the rest to wander around in the woods, travel, and engage in other shenanigans.

when i first understood what he was saying, it literally blew my mind. since then, i’ve realized at several critical moments that his thinking about this lines up with much of my thinking about alternative economies, intentional communities, and enoughness (some of which is catalogued here and here).

needless to say, i have been inspired by his thinking and i’m actively working to integrate it into my life. for me, his thinking translates to me as calculating an income maximum for myself. once i hit that every year (which will include some savings, but not thinking about retirement scale savings), i want to be free to stop doing things that generate income or if i do continue to generate income, i want to be intentional about giving away the excess. if i’m really honest, i’d love to have enough savings in the bank to not work for an entire year (sabbatical). but given that i don’t actually need that much resource to live for a year, i don’t think that’s outlandish.

anyway, here’s another blog post on thoreau’s thinking about income and working hours that includes some actual quotes. good shit.