This feels like the first time I figured out that the first letter of the Disney logo really is a D. I thought it was a G for most of my life, never questioning that the G made no sense at all. (For people who had similar reactions, there is a Facebook Group with 166,000 members strong.)
So here’s my epiphany: For me, in almost every aspect of my life, it’s all about the experience now.
That may not sound very revolutionary, but it affects every single aspect of my life. Let’s rewind.
How I got here
Last week, Jason and I had a conversation about saving money (something he is good at and I am not). After three years of dating, we finally figured out that the reason we have such different views on money is because we spend money different ways. He buys stuff – toys, gadgets, games – and I buy experiences – food, drinks, going out with friends. For him, it’s easy to stop buying stuff – or tell himself to wait for it. For me, it hurts my heart to say no to friends who want to spend time with me.
“I have this philosophy about food that it is more important to enjoy life than to count calories and be hungry just so I look better in photographs.”
It made me realize that that’s exactly the problem I have with money as well. For me, it’s all about the experience. In my mind, it is better to enjoy life in the now than count calories or even count pennies. What if I miss something amazing? What if I die tomorrow and all of it was for nothing? It’s the same reason I sacrifice sleep to stay up late until the very end of a party or emptied my savings account in college for a summer in Europe.
So Now What?
I’ve read (and highly recommend) Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover, the whole idea of which is that sacrifice now will bring great reward later. It sounds like a biblical proverb (several actually) – some call it delayed gratification.
It’s something I never thought I had a problem with, which might be why it struck me so hard. The ability to delay gratification is often a sign of emotional and social maturity, and intelligence – all things I feel like I have.
I’ve run across a few really great posts on the subject that I highly recommend.
From financialhighway.com – 5 ways to delay gratification:
- Make an Advance Decision and Know What You Want (write it down!)
- Know what is Important to You- Know Your Values.
- Have a Plan
- Reward Yourself
From Zen Habits (I just subscribed to the email digest) – how to enjoy life now AND save for later. Some of my favorites on the list:
- Find Free or Cheap Pleasures
- Track Your Successes
- Slow Down
Have you read any great books on the subject? Follow any bloggers? How do you take control? Any suggestions are very, VERY welcome!
Photo thanks to Flickr user SqueakyMarmot