So scared of getting older, I’m only good at being young

Monday, November 10, 2008

In the words of the immortal George Carlin, it’s all about the stuff.

So, for some fiscal reality wake up calls, I made some rough estimations on how much I had spent since arriving in Brisbane.

University – $24,000

Rent & Utilities – $17,500

Food – $9,500

Fuel – $1,200

Total

= $52,200 (~$26k/year)

That’s a lot of moolah to spend. In fact, that’s pretty much a full time job salary I’d need to earn there. It made me wonder if I could do away with the things that I had sometimes seen as required for my ‘lifestyle’. I do have a relatively expensive one, and on reconsideration, I don’t really need all this ‘stuff’ to be happy. But I will need to support people in the future: my mother, wife, family. A successful man is often graded by how much money (and hence, financial stability) he can offer to his family. Money to do what with? As they pleased, of course. Their quality of life is assuredly better, and the doorway to more experiences (smoothed over by the breadwinner’s income) is opened. After all, I would not have come this far, nor become this person, were it not for a certain amount of shinies required to jet my sorry ass here.

But.

Perhaps it is true that without a measure of financial power, one’s children may never get the privilege of visiting Disneyland, or get to play with the latest and greatest toys in the world. They might never go to a private school and get a high-class education, or ever understand what ‘jet skiing’ really is. Maybe he will come to appreciate fine wine and cigars and sky-dive from the clouds. None of this would be possible without money. But would you say it opens the door to MORE experiences? Not necessarily. Consider this: Who has the richer experience? A child whose family affords him enough to play polo, or a child who plays with bottle caps with his friends?

The answer is neither of them: experiences have no monetary value. They will both come away with a different sense of ‘fun’. Certainly, our society places a weighted value on the idea of ‘polo > bottle caps’, but this is only through its own materialistic lenses, instead of viewing experiences as a film reel in which our memories are captured.

Hm. I’m beginning to sound like a hippy socialist. Certainly not the intention when I started writing this. Perhaps I will earn just enough for a family to survive. Or perhaps I will be a filthy rich capitalist. Or a lone drifter who wanders in and out of the fringes of society. Choices choices.

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4 Responses to “So scared of getting older, I’m only good at being young”

  1. lenniez said

    “earn just enough for a family to survive” – and perhaps enough to get your kids birthday and xmas gifts without getting into a huge fight with your wife? 🙂

  2. sel said

    you’re right! i feel the same way. does having a coffee at pretentious starbucks make you WAY happier than having a nice steaming nescafe made by your wife at home? no one can put a price on that!

  3. mr jp said

    rent = $ 165++ a week
    rent in the city = $ 200+
    average meal = $10+
    PS3 = $ 688
    one subject at uni = $ 2000+
    a ticket to movieworld = $50+
    laptop = $ 1000+
    diamond ring = $godknowshowmuch

    Of course money buys happiness. Money is earned from hard work, which society rewards.

    Work > money > needs > wants > happiness

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