Would you rather
A) earn 50,000 a year while others make 25,000
B) earn 100,000 a year while others make 250,000?
When Readers Digest posed this question I picked A, much like everybody else so they say.
I have to admit that when I first chose, I thought I was being frugal.
Actually in all honesty I think what happened is given the choice of the two I believed I wouldn't even need 100,000 to be happy.
Someone with less than 20,000 yearly thinks that making an extra 30,000 sounds like a pretty sweet deal.
Then I kept reading, trying to see if the article had a point..... it did!!!!
(this is surprising only because I rarely seem to have a point when I ramble about random things... although that may be why I'm not published and Mr Stewart Foxman is.)
The point was we all suffer a little bit from the "Keeping up with the Joneses" syndrome.
(nobody apparently is trying to keep up with the Kardashians anymore.. the Joneses must be slightly more attainable...)
Actually to paraphrase the article, people are willing to forsake a doubling of salary just so they can outspend their neighbours. We all just want more more stuff than the next person.
psshhhaw I said... I'm not that shallow... I don't need other people to gauge how happy I am... and then I thought about it... I have a lot of time to sit and think about things like this, as I have an hour drive to work every morning.
So during this mornings drive I convinced myself that I chose A because I believed 50,000 was enough to make me happy.... especially since if no one else made that much the cost of living would have to go down and I'd be able to get everything I'd ever dreamed of.....
... it had nothing to do with at least I'd have more money than everyone else.
At this moment of self-celebrating-clarity the Turbine Truck passes me. This is a long-haul truck that is carrying HUGE steel cylinders through the narrow roadways. I've met him every workday for the past month.
There is always a string of cars behind these trucks, as there is a half hour stretch where you simply can not pass. Driving behind these massive trucks probably turns that half hour stretch into something more like 45 minutes to an hour.
(I'm not rambling here.. I promise I do have a point)
This morning I decided to count how many vehicles were subject to this torment.
Eight...... as I counted them I thought to myself, "well I may have a long drive to work but at least I'm not one of those cars....."
... uh.... wait a minute.... did the sight of someone less fortunate than I just make me happier about my own situation??
no, I'm not that shallow... remember, I just figured that out. Just a flukey coincidence That I hate being stuck behind trucks and I decided to be happy that this morning I wasn't.
As Karma would have it...I promptly turned the next corner and found myself squarely in behind a large slow moving log truck..... Today of all days.
Now not only was I stuck behind something on the Port Motoun Road, which in itself drives me absolutely bonkers. But I also had the weight of a guilty conscience for not being as much of a "love thy neighbor" type Christian as I thought I was.
I decided not to bother thinking about either thing and started wishing for the zillionth time this summer that I had a car with air conditioning (see, the $50,000 would actually be quite useful to me)
And on the next turn I see a gaggle of cyclist straining with their orange vests and high flying tail flags to get up the steep hill that I was easily coasting down in my non-air-conditioned car.
Then without a chance for me to tell it to zip it's lips, my subconscious managed to mummer "Well, you don't have air-conditioning but you're sure as hell not as hot as those poor people"
Any self riotousness I had left, flew out my open window.....
So now I choose to accept it....
I may buy my sunglasses from the dollars store instead of the Gucci web-site.
I may have purchase my Steve maddens from Frenchies for $4 instead of $400 from a boutique downtown New York,
I may not want to go $400, 000 into debt just so I can have the biggest, bestest house on the block.
But dammit I can't help but gain a little peace to my mind to hear someone, somewhere has it a little worse off than me.
According to Foxman, that makes me human, which in turn makes it impossible for me to be frugal.
According to my conscience, at least I'm not as bad as so-and-so down the road.....
4 years ago