Monday, May 30, 2011

30 DoB 8: If I Had A Million Dollars...

So today I went clothes shopping to take advantage of the Memorial Day sales. My clothes are kind of starting to show signs of age and I've been wanting to get new jeans especially... the ones I bought for my last round are starting to get holes in places I don't want holes to be, so it was definitely worth it. Anyway, I first went to one store I used to go to for clothes all the time--and by "used to" I mean I went there several times when I last bought a bunch of new clothes about three years ago--and realized that I didn't want any of the jeans there. There was a sale, yeah, but it wasn't great and the jeans didn't fit the way I liked. Then I went to one store I never thought I would find anything in, and walked out with four awesome pairs of jeans for about $50. I can deal with that.

But at the same time, I caught myself thinking "I don't need four pairs of jeans. Why did I buy four pairs of jeans? I have two that haven't fallen apart yet." Then part of me thought "But they're about to, and you've never really liked the way they fit, and these ones fit so well! And you're not going to find a sale like this before you leave the country. There's no other reason to celebrate by giving extra money off." That much was true. Especially because when I will have the chance, I'll be watching over some high schoolers and probably won't want to leave campus for anything since I won't have to.

So there were opportunity costs. There are things which have been about that high on my list that will now have to be put on the back burner for a while. I have been pretty good about dealing with that in the past, and I think it's a good part of my personality. I think a lot of people are afraid to make choices because they don't want to face what-ifs, but the way I look at it, I make choices and move forward and try to make the most of what I have.

That sounded much more profound in my head, but looking at it in print, it just sounds normal. Maybe that's just because I've read the words and understood them intellectually, but now I understand them more spiritually.

Anyway, sometimes I play an imagination game before or after making choices in which I pretend I don't have to make choices and I can have my proverbial cake and eat it too. It's the only time I deal with what-ifs, really, and it helps me settle the issue pretty quickly and kind of kiss all the other possibilities good-bye, or at least good-bye-for-now.

So today, I played "If I Had a Million Dollars." I thought about all the things I would buy if money were not an option, and it was kind of funny the way things occurred to me. I mean, simply because of today, of course, I thought about how I would always buy fun t-shirts and be sure to stay on top of TeeFury, and I would buy really stylish button-down shirts and always have ties to match them, and really comfy slacks with shoes that match them perfectly. Then I thought about all the music I want to buy and how I'd like to stock up on neo-folk music, but also dance tunes, but also have both the Karajan and Bernstein collections of Mahler Symphonies, and all the Sibelius symphonies, and a nice music recording software with really good equipment and a nice guitar to go with it and a good ukulele while I'm at it, and the best freaking camera with the best freaking external microphone so that I can have the highest production value on my vlogs, and a library full of classic books I'd read from my classy red leather chair, only rivaled by my library of musical scores I'd always follow along with, and I'd do all this in a classy terraced house right on the most trendy street in Edinburgh. Actually, I don't know if it's trendy, but that row of townhomes that JK Rowling lived in before getting famous is like exactly where I want to live, and not just because she was there.

But then when I listed all of these things in my head, I realized that these are all just indications of what I care about. It doesn't mean I need to fulfill all of those desires. It just means that I should value the things I have that I want to improve, and thank them for being a step up from what I could have, or did have. I also realized that frankly, I kind of like not having all of those things. I like how special it feels to be able to read from a score while I can steal a moment or two with it in the music library. I like having a janky, on-the-edge-of-death camera that I don't really have to worry about dropping. I enjoy that I have goals I can reach for, because I know that if I ever once feel like I've achieved the peak of something, I will be somehow disillusioned and be searching for more, but not ever be able to find it. I like having things that I could be coveting, because in deciding that I can't have them, I reaffirm that what I have is precisely what I need.
Sleep: X! I DID IT!
Blogging: X! I did this too!
Homework: XX! I did that bad boy ta-wice!
Reading: O ... O ... O yeah. Oops.


  1. ...And to think all of this came from buying jeans.
    I think you have a really good point at the end, sometimes we can really want things and have fun imagining how life would be with them but not get bummed about not having them because we know our lives are still pretty darn fantastic.
    Personally I think life is a little more interesting when you don't have all that you want or even need. In today's fascination with excess, I kind of like the idea of living with just what I need eventually. I have a feeling though if my life really came down to that my definition of "need" might change dramatically. Why, yes, I do /need/ that turtle over there...

  2. John Green once found some graffiti while filming one of his first Thoughts From Places videos. The artist had painted an Emily Dickinson quote under a bridge:

    "Success is counted sweetest by those who ne'er succeed."

    It seems appropriate here.

    (The video, one of my all-time favorites by the vlogbrothers:

  3. It's always good to have a couple spare pairs of jeans. :)
    And I would SO buy more graphic tees from TeeFury and Shirt.Woot. XD
    - Jason