Dear reader, you might want to skip this article. I write this mainly to organize some thoughts for myself. I am not preaching; I am not trying to teach anyone but myself; if you find something that helps you, you are welcome to the words and lessons. I have been struggling with learning a couple of things surrounding a couple of topics, and I want to take a minute and jot down some thoughts that have come to me. I will return to weightier matters another day. Please excuse me.
My best friend, traveling companion, and spouse, once said something that stuck in my mental processes, “Money is sacred! [emphasis in original]” She continued over time to add words to the effect that, since money requires effort and sweat to earn, money should be considered sacred and spent with purpose. When spending money with a sacred purpose, we would necessarily change our spending habits to reflect the sacred nature of money, and in doing so, honor our sacrifice in earning money, respecting ourselves more.
Since 2000 the software industry has undergone a very subtle shift; no longer do you purchase software, you rent it. You make a monthly purchase for that software, which becomes more than the price you would ever have paid for the software previously. Now, some argue this is due to the cost of upgrading software. Some argue this is due to the price of intellectual property. Some argue this is to reduce the cost of piracy of software. Regardless, does this shift honor your sacrifice in earning money?
Games, especially phone games, are really expensive. I have an addiction problem to phone games. I quickly get hooked, then I justify making a dollar purchase here, a two-dollar purchase there, and then at the end of the month, look at the bill and see I spent $400 on a phone game. True story. I turn on the passwords; I turn on the purchase blockers, I try hard to avoid making purchases. I can only succeed when I delete the games, put down my phone, and stop playing games. I have tried playing games without making purchases and would argue that it is nearly impossible to play any game without making purchases. The games are not designed to be played; they are intended to be cash machines for the game manufacturers. Maybe I am jaded, but I have yet to find any game that does not require regular cash infusions; believe me, I have tried to find a game that can be played without spending money, and I quit looking.
I am thoroughly embarrassed, shocked, dismayed, and disgusted by how much I have spent on games. I lost my head some time ago, and it is past time I got myself back together again. I turned off the last game this morning and will begin the slow addiction recovery process this morning; if I am grumpy, edgy, and bearish to be around, my apologies. For the last couple of months, I have been overcoming sugar addictions that I think will kill me, gluten addictions that are harder than chocolate and tobacco combined, and I thought chocolate would kill me. In the quest to lose weight and clean up my life to improve my diabetes, I am left with many questions about addictions and crutches.
I was speaking to a medical professional a month or two back and jokingly said:
“Food for too long has been my comfort zone; I wonder what will take its place now that diabetes has ended food being the comfort blanket.”
Me and my big mouth!
For those going through addiction recovery for the more common drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sex, etc., know you are not alone. I have been there for tobacco, now for sugar, chocolate, gluten, money, and food! It never ceases to amaze me what humans will become addicted to, what we will use to find comfort in, what we wrap ourselves up in to find security and peace to silence the voices in our heads and a good night’s sleep. I offer you the same hope I cling to, “We were born to succeed; we can do this!”
Wants and Needs
Robert Fulghum explained this one so well in one of his early books. I will summarize his story but take the time to look up his story; you will laugh, HARD! He is staffing a reception desk at a Dude Ranch Hotel on a night shift where he gets his meals included, but he has to pay for them from his salary. The employee meals have been sauerkraut and sausages for a couple of weeks. He is frustrated; he is mad; he wants to quit. He reaches a boiling point. He unloads one night on his relief an older gentleman, a WWII POW camp survivor (I think if I remember the story right). Anyway, after listening to the rantings and ravings of a childish teenager, this older gentleman gives Mr. Fulghum a piece of advice, “you have to learn the difference between wants and needs.”
I fully appreciate I struggle with this lesson. I keep getting wants and needs confused. Do I need a chocolate bar? Do I want something to eat? Do I want food? Do I need food? Much of my weight problem is trying to figure out wants versus needs. Much of my mental state is wants versus needs and the confusion between what I want and what I need. Going back to the games, do I really need a bucket of gems, or that shiny bottle of vitality?
While writing this section, the Grammarly word choices reminded me of another aspect of this conversation, words that confuse the wants versus needs selection cycle. The English language continues to be a double-edged sword, sufficient to describe and to confuse in the same stroke. Trying to figure out what I want and distinguishing between what I need has become clouded. Why? How? I have learned that it does not matter when or where the clouding occurred, these happened, it is done; the job is to get them unclouded and get moving forward!
I do not know the original source. I have heard several people make similar statements; I am not the initial source of the following thought.
“If you have a dream, write it down. Now you have an action item. With that action item, give it a date you want to have it accomplished by. Now you have a goal. With that goal, set specific steps to achieve and milestones. Now you have a plan.”
I would add a final thought. Upon completion of each milestone and especially upon completion of the goal, CELEBRATE! Celebrate failure, celebrate success. Then the day after, hold an “After Action Review (AAR)” and review what was learned, pain points, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Start anew! Too often, we miss the celebrations, and we forget to hold the self-reflections, and in doing so, we do not bring a goal to a close, and we do not write down lessons learned. Failure to learn lessons means we relive those lessons. How very tragic!
To answer the inevitable question, yes. I have a list of goals for the coming year. No, I will not be sharing this list publicly. Yes, the goals are written down. Yes, I have an end date. Yes, I look to have the goals completed in 365-days. Mental therapy is useless if I do not apply the lessons in my own life!
© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
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