It’s easy to discuss, debate, and discount the merits of the philosophy and strategies presented in The Old Money Book.
I’ve articulated general principles. People have individual experiences. I’ve detailed basic fundamentals. Life is nuanced.
The book was written in 2013. We live in 2021. Some things have changed.
Given these realities, it can be tempting to object and say, ‘But what about this?’ or ‘What about that?’ when advice seems straightforward and even challenging to accept.
When confronted with rules, regulations, boundaries, and consequences, teenagers are quick to protest with a flurry of hypotheticals that point to the unfairness, impossibility, or difficulties that will surely be faced should they be required to be responsible for their own actions.
So it is with adults and advice: there is always room to justify not following it.
And I’m fine with that. I encourage people to live their own lives, follow their own dreams, enjoy their own choices, and reap their own rewards.
If they adopt a particular philosophy, I encourage them to explore it thoroughly, embrace it with awareness, and, finally, take a long, hard look at the other people who follow that philosophy. Are they who you want to be? Are they what you want to be? Are they where you want to be? Because that is the most certain barometer to any practice: the predominant outcomes or results experienced by those who adhere to it.
People who do yoga regularly can expect a range of particular outcomes: they often become flexible, strong, healthy, and centered. Their breathing is full and easy. Their muscle tone is firm. Their torso is firm and straight. You can notice these characteristics by just looking at the people who do yoga regularly. It’s a practice that produces predictable results.
People who value material possessions above all else can expect to have material possessions. They will enjoy the pride of ownership and the satisfaction of display. They may or may not be able to afford all of their desires, but they will appear to be affluent to others. They will get a certain joy out of each new acquisition, but they will need to refresh and restock on a regular basis. Eventually (or not) an emptiness will set in, and here the results, too, are predictable.
Look at anyone’s philosophy of life, the ‘code’ they live by, the ‘culture’ they identify with, and then look at their quality of life. One usually directly and strongly correlates with the other. Just as we become like our friends, absorb the ideas and images we read about and see most often, and become ‘creatures of our uniform’, as Napoleon said, what we consciously or unconsciously adopt as our ‘way of life’ will form and inform our lives in ways unimaginable.
Knowing this, you should take extreme care. You should look at people who embrace the Core Values of Old Money, day in and day out, not in a righteous or snobby way, but in a solid, consistent, and soft-spoken way. The results are not always obvious. They are also present and they are predictable: a work ethic, a sense of purpose, a humanity, and an integrity that doesn’t shift and shimmy with the circumstances.
You will become like these people. You will probably experience the outcomes they’ve experienced: a sense of perspective about oneself and the world, a measure of financial independence, a serious commitment to work, a strong sense of family, and a healthy set of friends, just to name a few.
You’ll also have put material possessions in a healthy place: not at the summit of your pursuits, but as an enjoyable but measured by-product of your endeavors. You’ll have adopted the practice of delayed gratification, and let God do the judging of others.
At times it is not an easy road, but it is a rewarding journey.
And though at times it may be challenging, you can take comfort in knowing that, as an Old Money Gal and Guy, you never walk alone.