“While money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.”
– Groucho Marx
A higher game of chess
Last week I made more almost three times as much money as I did exactly one year ago. I was planning on writing some kind of witty and insightful post about what I learned from doubling my income, but I couldn’t think of anything. While not having to worry about being broke is nice, there’s only one thing that my progress taught me. It’s something of a recurring lesson and has popped up in a lot of different aspects of my life. The only thing that growing as a person has ever made me realize is just how much stupid stuff I’ve put up with in the past.
Around this time last year I went out to a bar and had to park four blocks away. It was the only space left. As anyone who has ever had to walk with a girl wearing high heels can tell you, you’re going to hear a lot of complaints. It gets annoying after a few minutes. Additionally, my going out shoes aren’t exactly comfortable either. By the end of the trip both of us had really sore feet.
The last time that I went out I didn’t want to have to deal with the hassle of parking in some remote area. I coughed up a couple bucks and had my car stored in a parking garage that was right across the street. Back in the day that would have been an expensive inconvenience for me. I made $10 an hour, putting my car in a garage would have eaten up a significant chunk of my daily bread. Putting my car away in any place that wasn’t free would have seemed like something that I’d never do. Now I can’t even image the stress of having to drive around while looking for an empty parking space.
Likewise, I don’t like going out at night that much any more. Outside of a couple excursions earlier this year I really haven’t had any incentive to go club hopping. I don’t drink and I think that most drunk people are annoying. Earlier this year I went out, spent half an hour standing in the freezing cold, and then got freight-trained be a “big boned” girl who was rushing out the door so that she could get teriyaki tacos from a food truck across the street. While I ended up laughing about the incident, it did put a damper on my night. When I got home I decided that there were better ways to meet girls than going to mediocre bars.
There’s nothing better than controlling your own destiny
When you have a job or have to take orders from other people you are powerless. A slave. You trade your life for $10 an hour. They pay you so that you can live another day and grovel for some over time. You don’t get the luxury of ever learning how much you hate mundane little nuisances. They feed you table scarps and you think it’s a sirloin. With no frame of reference how are you to know any better?
There’s a certain thrill in getting to do things that others can’t. Schadenfreude perhaps. When everyone else has to drive down the street and hunt for their parking spots, yelling and going crazy when someone else pulls in before them, you get to smile and park a hundred yards outside the club. To the girl who works at Hollister you might as well be Elon Musk. She’s not going to have to walk a mile like all her friends.
When people think of luxury they like to envision private yacht parties, mansions, and Viktor & Rolf clothing. They never realize that half the benefits involve not doing certain things. You don’t have to park all the way across town. You can stay in a private hotel room instead of having to share a cheap hostel bunk bed with some sweaty Danish backpackers. While I’d love to ball out on the Mikhail S. Vorontsov and wear some gaudy outfits, I’m still blown away by how many small things can be avoided once you start to control your own life.