Renting and Owning

“What do we own? Just our lives — and not for long.” 

— Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, The Daily Stoic

I bet the Tongva people who may have lived where my Los Angeles property currently sits believed they owned this land. 

I have a deed which tells me I own this home — a duplex, the front half of which we rent out. It’s a good investment, and we hope our kids will hang onto it when we’re gone. 

But that’s not certain.

The only certainty is that we won’t own it forever. 

The state can obtain land through eminent domain. And what happens when America no longer exits? And though it’s hard to fathom, this historical map suggests this country in which we live will eventually cease to exist — at least not in a form that we would recognize. 

We don’t even own our bodies. When I’m gone, entropy will ensure the molecules which constitute my body will reorganize and become the animate and inanimate objects of the future. 

And before that happens, I’m a glorified bag of meat that could be felled any time.

My mind, though, is the one thing over which I have control. 

Sure, thoughts may come and go without my control, but I alone decide how to perceive any thoughts. 

I’m renting my home and my body. 

I own my mind. And not for that long.

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