Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The simplicity of Youth?

A thought has been circulating in my brain recently and that thought is how much easier my whole life was in the past. I was thinking about what made some of this simplicity so much less stressful on me overall. My life hasn’t gotten much more challenging though it does seem that way. So why was my life as a teenager and in my early twenties so much easier? Was it much simpler or was my outlook on it that much simpler? Well before I get into the list that I’ve been starting and looking at a strange thought hit me: What if some of the simplicity that I’m referring to is the reason some items are weighing on me right now?

I started working through a list of items that I’m referring to as being simpler but the list isn’t really 100% accurate because as I delve into what made that at a simplicity often it was me doing something not really knowing if I really enjoyed it or not. For example I used to go clubbing pretty much every Friday and Saturday; now if you were to ask me to do that I’d just look at you as if you’d sprouted a third eye. I stopped liking clubbing long before I actually stopped clubbing. I guess to some extent some of this was me doing something that was to some extent rebellious and young. When I think about a lot of those times, I often enjoyed myself when I was out with a couple people or by myself (for the record I used to go to Raves by myself).

I guess to some extent some of the simplicity that I’m looking at came from the ability to just do what I wanted and often this was playing video games or partaking in some sport like activity without the worry of needing to do this or that or caring about why or how I was doing some of these things. I managed to get into some very significant debt when I was in this simple state (in my early 20’s). When I think back to when I was a teen is when things were simpler because I only spent money when I had it.

The financial aspect of life often didn’t register as something to consider; because I didn’t consider it I simply spent money that I didn’t have. Over time I managed to collect debt and as I collected this debt it started to weigh more and more heavily on what I did and what I worried about. Over the past say 3-4 years my finances really drove what I did and didn’t do because I needed to pay my bills and struggle balancing my various visa bills against each other with the car debt with this that and the other. You get the picture, it’s a pretty common one when you look at people in their mid-late twenties like I am. Now that the rest of life has become stable and quite happy (hell I’m engaged and living with my fiancé and very happy) my finances should be helping me instead of hindering me. I’m not really stuck in a job I don’t like at the moment but I am stuck in a job, forced to drive 2+ hours commuting because I need to be able to pay my bills…pay my debts. If I didn’t have the debts my bills would simply not be an issue and we could plan and prep for our wedding far easier instead of thinking how much it would cost. The cottage that we were looking at earlier this summer, instead of being a memory could be something that we visit each weekend.

I started this line of thinking off by saying that my life when I was younger was much simpler, yes it was but there was no responsibility within it and I didn’t give two shits about how I spent my money. Over time this became part of the problem now that I think about it. So what to do about it? Well I think knowing that this is something that is going to continue to weigh me down I need to adjust my life to remove this as a problem… I simply need to win the lottery!

I believe that the key may actually be in simplification; start cooking extra dinner and taking it for lunch with me instead of spending 15-20$ on lunch. Taking a sandwich and just sitting somewhere reading and eating will provide the same break as my lunches have recently but they’ll save me 75-100$ per week which I can use to cut down the debt and maybe set some $ aside for savings just in case something happens and for the wedding.

So the next part of the grand experiment is to simplify my expenses cutting out the items that I simply don’t NEED as well as cutting back drastically on the drinking. We have some booze left over from the weekend but I don’t expect we’ll need to buy any this week if any next week. I’ve noticed the difference when not drinking or drinking sparingly.

Ok now it’s time to go feed the cats and eat something.