December 30 – What is really free?

December 30. “Remember the ‘free’ cheese is in a mousetrap.” (Anonymous)

There is a saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and then there is another that says that the best things in life are free. Which is it? This quote tends to favor the idea that there aren’t freebies in life. I think it all depends on your perspective, and what you’re trying to get out of life.

I do believe that there aren’t really any freebies in life. What sometimes appears to be a case of something for nothing usually ends up having a cost. Advertisers like to use the word “free” because they know that people are drawn to it like moths to a lantern. But, just like those moths, people who are drawn to the idea of something for free usually get burned.

On the other hand, there are some things that money cannot buy. In the sense of purchasing something, then the saying is true that the best things in life are free. But even those things take an investment. Love is certainly something that cannot be bought, and yet to truly love someone means that I have to invest a lot of myself in the relationship. No amount of money in the bank will buy me love, but it isn’t really free either.

I think there is a third kind of phrase that covers both sides of this seeming conundrum. That is that anything worth having is worth working for. Whether we are talking about a fancy house, or the love of my wife, there is work involved to having it in my life. If I want to have a big house, a nice car, expensive toys and so on, then I have to work hard to earn the money to buy them. More importantly, if I want to have the love of my wife in my life, then I must be willing to invest something that money cannot ever buy – me!

This quote focuses on the idea that there aren’t any handouts in life. The cheese in the mousetrap looks delicious to the unsuspecting mouse, but it comes at a huge cost, or at the very least, a giant risk.

Today my reflection is on those things that appear to be free, but which have hidden costs. And, my reflection is on those things that are worth more than money could ever buy.

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