Before life used to be in fast lanes, people were minimalist. They used to work hard in the day, earn enough to eat two times, sleep peacefully over the night, and start all over again the next day. They used to respect each other, celebrated, mourned and participated in any events happening in their neighbors together.
But over the years life has not been the same. As the industrial revolution evolved, people turned to cities. They started to face competition and they needed to fight in order to be heard and get what they deserved. We earned. We bought stuff. We felt happy buying stuff. So we earn more to buy more stuff. Slowly we became so habituated with the cycle that we started to drift from what once mattered to us more than anything. We started accumulating things we may not even need. Suddenly a new kind of competition was there. Competition to look more smart. More trendy. More fashionable. Something more to boast about. It never end.
But minimalistic living is something people eventually turns to, when they finally understand that they have enough of the shenanigans of consumerism.
I think choosing where to spend money is something that every teenager/younger generation take granted now a days. Eating at Dominos and CCD have risen from just on occasions to daily affair and worse so when they do it just so as to look “cool”. While I think globalization is bringing with it some amazing progress to our country, I also think its the generation of ours and younger that needs to draw a line. Trend of making easy money from part times and then spending it frivolously on things that is far from “need” than “want” is something most of the young minds are plagued with.
Personally I never spent a dime on things I “want” till I started earning my own dough. I come from a lower middle class family, where we used to face scarcity of all kinds. Our house is built in parts as and when my dad could accumulate money to built something. Broken things used to remain broken until we could accumulate money to fix it. Fortunately my dad is an electrical engineer, and he doesn’t lack tinkering around. So most of the stuff from home wiring, to laying basic water pipelines, fixing Television sets (CRT ones), cleaning engine of our scooter to fixing kitchen appliances were all done by himself, while I used to be his assistant in bringing the tools he needed. I have rarely seen any specialized fix-it guy being called for fixing any stuff listed above.
Franky I used to hate being with my dad when he was repairing things. He used to loose his cool easily. I would struggle to bring to him the exact tools he require from what I see as a treasure of tools kept in the store room. But now that I think about it, my dad was only trying to save some money, so that I can study in a private school and keep up with the extravagant fees, prices of clothes and books.
Maybe the reason why I choose to study “Software” Engineering was because of the struggle I used to see my dad having with trying to fix all those hardware all by himself, becoming the one man army of all the Dr. Fix-it guys out there, and slowly resenting the hands and face getting dirty by the dirt and grease it attracted. But I did understand the money it use to save to us in the long run and that’s why never use to complain about it to my dad.
I even made a list of the things I could never afford but badly “wished” for when I was in school, like my own PC. I used to draw layout of keyboards in a diary and try to memorize the placements of alphabets since I didn’t have my own PC. Sometimes, I used to work on a Pentium 3 PC at my Mausi’s house. But it didn’t have internet access. So I used to make a list of web links, write long emails in text files and save them in 3.5″ floopy disks so that I save time when I used to access Internet at a local cyber cafe each Sunday for not more than an hour. It was in my college that my father was able to buy for me a Pen 4 PC in 2005, Internet connection 3 yrs after that, and recently I upgraded to a Core i5 PC after more than 7 yrs. Even after these many years, I still can’t say I am satisfied by our living standards. But that is a different story.
The fact of the matter is that while I was crying over my not being uber-rich, I am thankful for my past that it taught me the value of money. While I was sad since I didn’t have my own PC in my school, there are people in worse conditions than I am. As said profoundly by someone,
“If you have a family that loves you, A few good friends, Food on the table , And a roof over your head, You are richer than you think..!!”
The line between “necessity” and “desires” depends on the person and that’s why it have to be drawn by the person themselves. Its not about how much money you can afford but how much money you need to be “happy”.
As a technologist it would be difficult for me to draw a line between things I need and things which I am passionate about. But I am aware of the value of money that my dad knew and taught me since I was a child. Now that I think about my recent past I think I am guilty of a little over-spending but hey, you can hardly complain if I “invest” in a few things I love!