A while ago I wrote a blog about spending money on travel versus spending money on things. As I prep for my trip to Ireland this week and watch a lot of crappy reality television on a lazy Labor Day weekend, I’ve been thinking about it even more.
I grew up in a very non-superficial, down to earth kind of town in California. It had its drawbacks but when I started college in Orange County, it was like a completely different world. If you didn’t carry a Kate Spade purse or wear $300 sunglasses or Juicy Couture track pants, then you didn’t fit in. Before that point I’d always liked shopping (it was a special bonding experience with my mom too) but I never cared about brands or the cost of things. I’d never even heard of Seven for All Mankind jeans. But after a few years of being immersed in it…I found myself with Kate Spade sunglasses and an expensive purse. I still shopped at Target, but I felt that constant pressure to be like all the other girls I had my classes with. That pressure still lingered for a while after graduation but it slowly started to melt away the further away from my college years I got (not all of Orange County is as superficial as TV portrays it or as my college was either).
I watched a couple of different shows today that featured people who had everything and were swimming in wealth. People who could charter a yacht and spend $6,000 on a pair of shoes. There was one point in my life where I would have looked at that and thought to myself, “I want that.” But you know what? I watched it today and my reaction was, “I never want that.” Do I want to be financially stable? Yes…and I actually I consider myself to be pretty financially stable now. But I don’t want to be able to buy everything. I don’t want people waiting on me hand and foot. I don’t want everything handed to me and I never want to get to a point where I think I need a pair of $6,000 shoes.
I don’t want to sound like Ms. High and Mighty here. These are all things I just want for myself, no judgement on anyone else. I want to be able to travel and see the world. I want to be able to do things for other people. Dare I say…I want to change the world. That’s what matters to me now. Not all of the clothes in my closet. Not the car I drive or the house I own. I will probably always like to shop. That’s one thing I’m OK with, but I never want to be at a point where what I buy is all that matters to me.
I’ll keep driving my Chevy with 91,000 miles until it dies. I’ll use my laptop until it won’t turn on anymore. I’m not going to buy the latest iPhone. I’m OK if I’ll never be a millionaire, but what I’m not OK with is not trying to help people in the least. I’m not OK with not getting to see at least a good chunk of this world and learn about everything and everyone in it. I don’t need to be swimming in money but I do want to be swimming in life and in the things and places I’m lucky enough to experience.