Everything that appears to be a symbol of success has one dirty secret. That secret is, that no matter how exclusive, everything has a price tag.
Usually when people say this, they mean it in a disgusted way. To me, its comforting.
I grew up in a lot of financial uncertainty. I used to dream about money. Finding it in an old wallet, or day dreaming about winning the publishers clearing house sweepstakes. I knew on some subconscious level that a lot of the misery in my life was financial. If you are going to school with jeans that don’t fit, and trying to pull them down so they don’t show your ankles, you know that you have a jean problem. Which is at its roots a money problem.
The most common response to lack is usually the least helpful.
Opting Out, Shrinking of Desire, Mythologizing.
Instead of taking this lack as a moment in time, we construct a narrative of how this is the way it is, this is how it will always be. We do this to avoid pain. Short term, it can be comforting to think that I am suffering because of things outside of my control. Long term, this is the dream killer.
At the same time, some things are outside your control. You can’t help your skin, gender, accent, orientation, your natural preset brain chemicals, your parents, your country of origin, your generation. We are all born into some kind of stacked deck, some have it way worse.
But still, in the world where all objects have a price tag, mythology won’t help you. it has never helped me one day in my life to learn that the 1% of our country controls most of the wealth, even though its true. It has helped me immensely to learn to set goals, read voraciously, and surround myself with people whose life I want to model.
When I act like everything is out of my hands, I am undone. When I act like everything is under my control, I wake up earlier and work harder. Both are extremes, but the latter is the one I think most people lack.
For me, learning how much things cost, has helped pop a balloon in the growing dread that creeps into my heart when things aren’t going well. My car breaks, I don’t feel $50 dollars worth of fear, I feel $2000. But when you learn its a battery issue, it goes back down.
Walking down the street seeing people eating in a fancy restaurant, you envy them. Then you look at the menu and realize its about $100 total for two people. All of a sudden this snapshot of unimpeachable wealth is a joke.
No matter who you are, someone will always have more. But a lot of times, if you scrutinize their “more”, you realize that you could create the same thing if you really tried.
I have to believe that I am a man without limits. Its the only way I know to not become a bitter old asshole and age prematurely. If I’m willing to pay the price tag, I can have anything I want.