So…last night was one of those ‘I can’t believe I’m having this conversation’ moments. A commercial for the iPhone came on during our family viewing of the “Heroes” premiere. This prompted instant salivating from my son (even though we’ve had the ‘there’s no way we’re paying $80/month for you to have a cell phone that someone’s gonna gank at the first possible moment” coversation already). So he sets his sites on the iTouch. More specifically the 32GB iTouch.
Now mind you, he doesn’t have $380. And he does have the 4GB iPod Nano. So he does have an MP3 player. Nancy’s got a hand-me-down first gen 1GB Nano and a 1GB Shuffle…Jen has her 4GB Sansa, and I have my 8GB Sansa View (with add’l 8GB added). So, as a family we’re squarely set on the portable media device thang.
But that doesn’t stop my son from wanting the 32GB iTouch. In fact it’s one of three items he really wants. They are
Now mind you, he’s 12 going on 13. He thinks that any of these three items are fair game for his birthday (and I’m not sure that’s necessarily the case). He has a Gameboy Color, 2 Gameboy Advance SPs, a Nintendo DS, an iPod Nano, and access to my spare laptop and one of several computers in our house. So he doesn’t need any of the things on his list…but he wants them. And I get it. If there’s anyone in our house that gets it..it’s me.
I am the KING of shiny-flashy-new-ooooooooh-I-want-it-now. And I could tell by the arched eyebrow that I was getting during my discussion about ‘sometimes its not good to always want more’ that Nancy was about to call me out on it. And I said ‘Look,son, I’m speaking from experience here. It took me 30 years to figure out that it’s better to use what you have until it no longer meets your needs and focus on being content than always wanting something more and continually looking to upgrade to the next better thing. It’ll make you miserable.’ I clearly admitted my weakness in that area. I figured my firsthand perspective could be more helpful than hearing it from his mom. And one of the things I’ve learned is, when you use what you have, it’s very liberating (because you don’t get paralyzed waiting for the next new thing to come along before you act on anything).
And that prompted him to ask about whether or not I wanted a new laptop. And while, yes, a new laptop would be nice, I don’t need one or want one right now. The one I have meets my needs very well (other than the 13 minute battery life, but I can live with that-I’m rarely out of range of a power outlet). My next laptop (and I don’t see it happening for several years) will be a MacBook. I’ve already decided that. The one I want would be about $1500. I don’t need it right now. I don’t want to spend the money on it right now (even if we actually had the extra $1500). And I mean that.
He also called me out on my camera purchases ‘You buy a new camera every 5 months.’ And I know it seems that way, but I haven’t purchased a new camcorder in nearly 2 years (And the one I did buy recently was the same model as the one I had and I got it as a backup-so, that doesn’t really qualify for the ‘better-flashier-cooler’ award) and the digital camera I recently purchased was more of a necessity for my trip (I wanted something that could fit in my pocket). I did admit openly to him, though, that I certainly wanted a new camera every 5 months (usually more frequently than that).
He sat brooding through the rest of the show. He told me that if he wound up getting an iTouch that he was worried I’d make him feel guilty. I assured him that I wouldn’t. I just wanted him to think about the things he says he wants and his motivation for wanting them. He later admitted that he was mad at me for making him think about those things.
And to be honest, I get that too. I often get frustrated when Nancy calls me out on if I really ‘need’ something or I just want it to have something new. So I know right where he’s coming from. But I do feel that I’ve made steps toward recovery in my own ‘better-faster-shinier’ affliction. And if I can pass that mindset on to my son before he spends a third of his life wishing for things he doesn’t have (and may never get) and never being happy with what he has, then I will have done my job.
I guess time will tell at this point.