Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Should I Need These Things?

So, where was I? Ah, yes, needs and things and money. As I’ve been thinking about the word need and what needs for people actually are, I can’t help but look subjectively at my life and what I think I need. I suppose I should admit up front that I am somewhat materialistic. I do like to have “things”, but I wish that I always didn’t want to have them. Often I can get along without things, but every once in a while there just happens to be something I need.

For the most part, I only get material things when I have the money to afford them and I feel that I am getting a fair deal for what I’m paying for it. Through this reasoning, I’ve never actually paid full price for anything, I don’t think. All the video games I buy I pick up used or on sale (I try to only buy them if they’re $15 or less). I used to get cd’s all the time when they were on sale, but for the last 6-8 months or so I’ve almost completely given up buying music (unless it’s from a band that I really like and the cd is sub-$10). I have also given up DVD buying for the most part as well. I don’t usually watch a movie more than once or twice anyways, so why buy a movie for $15 or so when you can rent it for $3 or $4.

Thinking back, I probably spent too much money on cd’s and dvd’s. I’m pretty sure that I never actually thought that I needed any of them while I was purchasing them (even if I might have said so), but I definitely wanted them. Maybe I just fluctuate from one material thing to the next in what I like to purchase because I went from toys to cd’s to dvd’s and now I’m back into comics again. Realizing once more that I don’t “need” comics, I’ve tried to reign in my comic buying to just my monthly subscription and a few assorted titles here and there to fill in my runs.

The thing that has been different with some comic purchases than with cd’s, dvd’s, and other things I’ve bought is that occasionally I have caught myself actually feeling a need for some issues, but it doesn’t happen too often. Usually the only time it happens is if I somehow manage to put together an almost complete run, but I’m missing a few issues. If I have #1-13 and #15-15 of a 20 issue series, I then feel the “need” to get #14. Every other issue seems useless and incomplete without that one issue. I’m sure that there are many other great story arcs in that series outside of that issue, but I somehow feel like I’m being cheated if I read it through without having that issue to read. It would almost be like reading a novel and just skipping an entire chapter in the middle of the book.

In cases such as these I see the one place that things that are unneeded for survival and sustenance could be seen as a need. When I get something that is not a need, but I require something to augment it, complete it, or protect it—those items of augmentation, completion, or protection then become needs in my mind. An example of this that doesn’t involve comic books might be my laptop that I just got. Since I now have a nice laptop that I spent a good chunk of change on, I need some way of protecting it and transporting it. I “needed” a carrying bag. This need ended up costing me $40 that I don’t really have at the moment. Sure, I could get by without it, but I don’t want to take that chance of breaking it or not being able to take it somewhere. Heck, I didn’t even need to get the laptop, so I shouldn’t really need the case either.

This problem right here is, in my opinion, my biggest downfall when it comes to viewing things as needs. I will not view things as needs, and I will only get them when I can afford them and I think I could get good use out of them. After I get those items, the auxiliary items that are associated with it then become needs for me. This association of tacked on items never really figures into my view of the original item. Maybe if they did I would reconsider buying many things.

I really don’t think I’ve answered the question of how things can be needs very well, but in thinking about it I’ve come to realize how I operate when it comes time to purchase something. I suppose I could go out on a limb here and say that I’ve found the topic for my New Year’s Resolution already—be more intelligent in examining all the aspects of a purchase: it’s actual cost, what other items I will associate with it as needs, what the ramifications of those needs will be, and if it will be possible for me to circumvent these feelings of necessity.

I want to follow through on this resolution doubly well because I will now have loans to be paying off that I’ve accrued from attending SJU, and also my employment situation does not seem to be as secure as I would have hoped. I’m still trying to pin down a job at Kingland in Rochester, but the position is not a guarantee. Even if I do get the job, I have no clue what the salary may be (assuming that it would be a salaried position). I guess this isn’t exactly how I saw the beginning of my “real world” experience starting. I came in with high hopes of coming out of here with a degree and a secure job that would pay me well enough to get my loans taken care of and also allow me to put together a nice, little savings fund. Now, as it stands, I’m on shaky ground because if my job at Kingland falls through, I’m pretty much screwed because I haven’t looked anywhere else. I’ve liked Kingland’s environment and simply wanted to continue working for them. Let’s hope it works out that way. It is definitely going to be an interesting December, but I am still unsure as to what type of interesting it may be—drama or pleasant surprises. Either way, it’s all going to be unfolding within the next 30 days. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

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