To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Want vs Need - Working For What You Have

**Note: The following entry was written wearing shoes purchased in December - of 1998!

Halloween costumes we created by
trading clothes with friends for the night
I’m late to the game, but I finally watched the Blind Side this weekend. It really stuck with me how this rich family didn’t hesitate to help someone who needed it. He was so appreciative and humble. He didn’t ask for anything. The family in turn saw how fortunate they themselves are. It was refreshing and a message I wish more people would notice and think about. It seems that everything is all about bigger, better, I have to have it, I need to have the best and be better than the next person …. Yet nobody wants to actually work to achieve all these things they THINK they NEED. Need vs WANT. There is a huge difference.

I need my cane today. I don’t want to use it. I wanted a cane with more personality since I need to use it, so I set aside some money and shopped around for one that I liked that was also affordable. (You wouldn’t believe how expensive they get!) I was in bed this morning battling my Meniere’s Disease and thinking back to my life when I was younger and how different it was. I know people talk about me behind my back and complain that I get to travel a lot, or that I bought a new house yet only work part time. **For the record, part of the reason I work only half days is because of my Meniere’s Disease and how difficult it was becoming to work 8 hours a day. So I thought today I’d back up a bit and show how things aren’t always easy and you don’t just magically get a new house or get to travel or get to buy yourself a cute cane. You have to WORK for it and EARN it!

Cheap clothes,
but they worked!
College: I don’t know a single person that went to college and didn’t have student loans and debt to pay off. It is just part of the deal. You want a higher education, you PAY for it. It’s not handed to you. You go to class, you buy textbooks, you study, you try to work in a social life sometimes. It’s hard work. You have to dedicate yourself to it. College is NOT like the movies. You don’t just get to say you’re in college and then party all the time and get drunk and go to football games and not work and not study and sleep through class. That isn’t the real world…. If you want the education.

Work: I wanted a part time job during college. My roommate and I got jobs at the movie theater and had to have the proper attire. We bought black Keds because they were cheap. We each bought two pairs of black pants and two white shirts. Those got us through months of buttery popcorn and sticky Coke. Nothing was designer, it was all on sale, and it got the job done. I’ve had jobs where I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without asking permission and having someone cover my spot for me. I’ve worked 13 hour shifts from early morning to late at night. I’ve worked outside in blistering, humid heat. I’ve worked outside bundled up in multiple layers and rain. Work isn’t always glamorous or worth bragging about, but it’s what you do if you want to be a grown up and want to have things you WANT. For many years I was working to be able to buy things I NEED.

Food: I can look back at photos of myself in Florida and tell when I had no money. I was very tan (like I could afford sunblock?!?) and skinny (food wasn’t filling my cupboards). I was struggling just to pay rent and utilities. I never ate out. My lunch would consist of a package of peanut butter cracker sandwiches that I brought from home. Water was free at work, since they didn’t want us passing out or dehydrated, so that was a plus for my pocketbook! And speaking of pocketbooks – designer purses?? No. A cheap purse from an outlet store? Yes.

Check out that fancy entertainment
system - thanks to my parents for
passing them down to me!
Television: At Oregon State the first year, I had a hand me down TV – it was a rotary dial with 13 channels. This is how I got to know Mr. Bean and every other show on PBS. The next year I was given a "new" hand me down TV. A tiny box of a TV, but it worked and was even in color. Most of the friends I had in the dorms didn’t even have a TV at all, so we were all thrilled to watch anything on PBS. How many nights we made sandwiches in our rooms, sat on cheap bean bag chairs and watched Mr. Bean. And we loved it!

Phones: As a teenager I didn’t have a phone, other than a regular old-school phone in my dorm room. My car was giving out and my step-dad was worried, so sometimes he had me take his car phone. Yes, kids – we used to have “car phones”. It plugged into the car, was ginormous, the bottom part flipped open and it had a huge antenna. I had it for emergencies while driving. Some friends had pagers and I would use my home phone to leave number messages on their pagers to call back. Texting was non-existent. Email was all in DOS format. No way did we email on our phones! Our phones didn’t take bathroom selfies. They pretty much made calls and were as simple as you could get. And we were fine with that.

Car: My car had to get oil put in it every time I drove between school and my mom’s home. I had to sometimes drive on the shoulder so semi trucks could pass me… it was having a slow death. But it was my car. I used it until it physically couldn’t go anymore. Air conditioning? Power windows? Cruise control? CD player? Never heard of it. And I survived just fine! - I didn't have a car with all of those things until I bought the one I have now!!

Electronics/computers in the '90s,
 things have improved!
Computer: OMG my computer – slow, old, huge … but it worked! And my printer? Dot matrix. So loud the entire floor could hear me printing reports. And then the tearing of the sides and each sheet. Good times. I was one of the few to have a computer and printer. Most people spent nights at the computer lab working on their reports. And you know how we gathered information? It was called a library. We checked books out or looked in encyclopedias. It’s crazy how much has changed in just a short amount of time!! I sound ancient!

Travel: “You are always on vacation!” is what I am always told. Yeah, when I am gone ever notice most of the time it’s a 3 day weekend so I don’t miss much work? When I am in Vegas I don’t gamble. I don’t eat at fancy restaurants. I stay at Excalibur, which is nothing to brag about. I get free things by playing the myVegas game on Facebook. I’ve been to Walt Disney World a lot – but let’s look at that…. I got in free when I worked there. My first time visiting Florida wasn't even for vacation --- it was to WORK! Now when I go I get 50% off my hotel rooms and I get let into the parks for free. (I don't have perks in California, hence why you rarely see me there!) I save money for each and every trip and budget to make sure I have enough for what I want once I am there. BUDGET AND SAVE!!

And finally, my house: Man Friend and I have worked years to get to a place where we could buy a nice forever home. My life has always been fun, because my family and I made it that way – money or not. I've diligently saved and worked very hard to have great credit. I paid off my car in full early – every month I paid more than was due, was never late nor did I miss a payment. I have minimal credit cards, and the ones I have I used just to help build up my credit score. Going all of these years tending to what I NEED more than what I WANT has allowed me to be able to move into a nice home that I WANT to take care of.

Being a lazy free loader with no motivation will NOT
help you find a place you can call home!

Basically I only buy things on sale. Man Friend has to force me to put groceries in a cart when I am not wanting to buy food at regular cost. The only shoes I buy are for running – when I need to replace a pair. I don’t know the last time I bought regular “normal” shoes. I did buy a skirt on sale last week, otherwise I can’t remember the last time I bought new clothes, aside from a souvenir t-shirt. I take excellent care of what I do have because I know all the work that has gone into getting it. So on the outside it might look like I’m spoiled, but I've worked hard and gone without (post high school) in enough situations that yeah, now I CAN spoil myself once in a while. The point is – you don’t need the newest phones. You don’t need a fancy TV. You don’t need the nicest car. Be grateful for what you DO have. Take care of it. Work hard to get what you do need – food, medicine, toilet paper? – and eventually you’ll be able to get what you want and appreciate it!


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