“Provident” is aspirational–I’m not sure I’m there yet, but I’d like to be. It means careful and thoughtful in planning and providing for the future. Synonyms include frugal, but also prudent and judicious, qualities that are just as important as frugality.

While frugality is important, it’s not my endgame in itself. I don’t just want to be frugal, I want to be thoughtful and careful. Being provident is especially hard in an era of information overload. How do you make judicious choices when you can’t possibly absorb all the facts and opinions that are out there?

You could, I suppose, ignore the Internet and live your life as if it’s still 1910 and the word “provident” is still in common circulation (these days, it’s a popular name for financial services, but less commonly used to describe individuals). But that would be 1. weird and 2. not much fun.

So instead, I’m going to try to be provident in an improvident time, judicious with my time and information in a moment that’s profligate with both. We’ll see how it goes.