If you follow me on Twitter or FaceBook, firstly I apologize. I’m totally uncensored, so you get random things like me talking to my uterus and current obsessions in addition to rambling about my day and suchlike. (At least it’s short rambling.)
Secondly, you’ve heard that I’ve been jonesing for a scooter. In fact, I declared 2010 to be the year I get one. I did research and checked into motorcycle laws – and found and fell in love with a particular scooter. I priced it new, found a place in town that sells it. I started figuring out how much I could put down and how much I could afford to pay monthly, and talking about other financial options.
I was all set to buy the scooter. I even had a name picked out for her!
And then, I decided not to do it at all. After weeks of thinking about very little other than my soon-to-be scooter, I kind of surprised myself there.
After weeks of research and noodling and excitement, I had a major shift. I learned to respect money.
I feel like I leveled up! Suddenly, I understand money far better. I grok that, when we spend money, we no longer have it – whether it’s cash or not. I know where it comes from and I get that I need to know where it’s going, all the time. It’s not my enemy; we’re friends. It’s not some amorphous thing that just happens to me; it’s real and I can pay attention to it and have understanding of it.
What does this have to do with the scooter?
Well, I started thinking of all the other things I could do with the money I’d put into a scooter. I could go to Portland and meet all the cool people there and buy a huge ton of socks in person. I could go to cons and meet people and have an awesome experience. I could visit friends across the country. I could get 10 new tattoos (I don’t actually want that many; don’t worry, Daddy). I could have 750 grande chai lattes. (Seriously? Only 750?! I need to figure out how to make them at home, omg.) Or the money spent on a scooter could go into savings. It’d buy us 2.5 months of security.
I also started thinking of the practicality of a scooter: I live in Texas. It’s hot here 10 months out of the year – and I hate the heat. Scooters don’t have air conditioning. I have tattoos. The sun is terrible for skin, but worse for tattooed skin. Scooters don’t have roofs. And there’s the additional costs of gas and maintenance, taking classes and getting a motorcycle license, etc.
Once I started weighing all the other possibilities and thinking of the actualities of it, getting a scooter seemed like a dumb idea.
This was revolutionary for me.
I never used to think things through like that. I’d be out and on a scooter, willy nilly and never you mind things like practicality and actualities and other possibilities!
To slow down, breathe, and realize what I want is not what I thought I wanted, well, that was really something. Even further, to stop before I spent a ton of money and wound up with something sitting around gathering dust and regret… that was damn near the end of times.
Our culture is addicted to instant-gratification. We’re not taught to slow down and think; we’re taught to RUN RIGHT OUT AND SPEND SPEND SPEND RIGHT NOW HURRY! SALE ENDS SOON! And it makes me sick, but I get all swept up in it and need to run right out and hurry hurry hurry. I’ve spent most of my life running right out and spending spending spending, and then wondering why I never have enough for travel or books or emergencies.
And it’s not just about money, either. We spend our lives running, rarely taking time to slow down and figure out what we want in any capacity, and we run til we realize how unhappy we are even though we’re surrounded by all the things we thought we wanted.
Slowing down to breathe, to figure out what we want before we wind up with what we don’t really want – that’s revolutionary for all of us.