Categories
Life Personal

How Deep Does Our Mental Programming Go?

As I sit here today I am pondering the thoughts and decisions I have made over the years. How many of those decisions came from me, and how many came from societal programming?

My reason for this line of thought stems from Christmas dinner yesterday. I ate that meal perfectly well, yet there is a part of me that is screaming over the fact that I’ve yet to get around to acquiring a set of dentures. I feel somehow wrong and less because I am toothless, but why?

I can eat perfectly well. I may not be able to eat nuts or really hard items, but I can eat. I can actually eat better now than I could when I had teeth!

So why do I want dentures? The purpose of dentures is to not just improve appearance but to help people eat better, right? Yet I can eat perfectly well without them and my appearance has already improved.

So how much of the desire for dentures is from me and how much of it is the programming I’ve received since childhood?

I am having similar questions with my pursuit of college. Why do I want a degree? An Associate’s Degree will increase my income potential a bit but to be honest; I’d make more if I took a job at a factory than I ever could with an Associate’s Degree.

As for the knowledge attained, I find myself doing busywork more than actually learning these days; if it were not for the pointless exercises I would have a lot more free time. I’ve reached the point where I do believe that I could learn more faster if I skipped the busywork and just read the books in my spare time.

Of course, college isn’t designed like that. If you don’t do the busywork your grades suffer immensely. Even worse, if you come to a solution in a way that varies from what the instructor wants you are wrong even if the result is exactly the same.

Yet we spend money just to spend our time doing stuff that really doesn’t matter in order to attain a piece of paper that is supposed to tell the world that we’ve become someone special.

I may be onery in my old age, but I’m beginning to question the logic of not only college, but other facets of my life. Just how much of my desires actually make practical sense in the grand scheme of things?

If the purpose of attaining a formal education is income, there are much faster and cheaper ways to do it. We can work at factories while they still hire humans. We can take a quick certification course and enter fields that don’t require a degree. Hell, if my only purpose is to earn more money I could start busting my ass on this website, produce more books, and go from there. I could even spend $500 to take a set of tests that would certify me in the computer field–and that would be a large boost in pay. I could start accepting new clients in my computer repair business or read a few books on phone repair and earn a tidy income from home.

So why am I so set on attaining a degree? With any of the other options I would actually be able to earn even more money a lot faster than I could by spending my time in college.

And if I said “forget about it” on my teeth I could save $1,000 or thereabouts and be done with the mess.

Just how much of these desires are from me, and how much is from my societal programming?

Have you ever thought about that? Wondered how much of your desires are truly yours? What is your opinion of my personal situation?

I could really use some advice right now so please contribute to the discussion by commenting below. I would really like to know if I’m on to something or if I’m losing my mind.

Thank you.

Categories
Frugality Investments

Unjustifiable Luxury

I want a washing machine. I really do. I would like few things more than to be able to sit at home and do my laundry whenever I desire.

With this in mind I pulled out my trusty ledger and checked to see just how much I spend each month at the laundromat in hopes that I could justify the purchase.

I spend $15-$20 a month.

A new portable washing machine ranges in price from $100-$300 depending upon size and features. The cheapest model that I like (that would fit in the small space I have) costs $173.00. It would take approximately nine months of laundry savings to pay it off.

That’s not bad, not really. If the machine held together for a few years I might even come out ahead in savings. I could wash what I wanted, when I wanted. Of course, knowing me I’d eventually splurge on a little dryer to match. In roughly 20 months I would have paid for them in laundry savings and convenience.

But can I justify it in light of my goal? If I spent $300 on a washer and a dryer I would gain convenience, but if I invested that money I would be almost a day’s wage closer to freedom, even more as I reinvested the dividends.

In light of this I am forced to ask myself which do I want more? Do I want the convenience of washing my laundry at home, or do I want my freedom? As much as it stinks, I am forced to make this choice: convenience now or freedom later?

And you know what? I want my freedom. As much as I would love the convenience, I want to go back to the days when my time was my own once again. I want to wake up when I want to wake up. I want to immerse myself in my writing or my house cleaning without having to stop in the middle to go to work just to pay the bills. I want to work because I want to work, not because I have to work. If that means that I have to suck it up and drag my tired butt down to the laundromat and deal with a bunch of screaming kids then so be it. If that means I have to wash my laundry in the bathtub and dry it with a box fan then I will do just that.

I will do whatever it takes to achieve financial freedom. The rich buy assets; the poor buy liabilities. I have to remember that. As much as my tired, ornery butt dislikes dealing with my laundry I will suck it up and move on. I will allow the owner of the laundromat to deal with repairs, maintenance, and higher utility bills while I invest every penny I can spare to regain my freedom.

That said, there’s a spoiled little girl deep inside of me stomping her feet in frustration. She wants a washer, dammit! She wants a washer and a dryer and while I’m at it I need to throw in a couple of pink unicorns for her as well because nothing else will do. She’s tired of being poor. She wants to have at least some of the things that normal people have.

But the voice of logic reigns. I won’t be poor forever, not if I apply myself each and every month to my future. If I focus on my writing, rebuild my book royalties and invest the funds I will have a much safer, better future than the one in store for me if I surrender to contemporary pleasures.

In the meantime I’m not in the mood to deal with people today so it’s time to dump another basket of laundry in the bathtub. Mama needs a clean pair of panties.

Is there a desire in your life that you can’t currently justify or afford? How does that make you feel? Please share your stories in the comments below.