Confessions of a People Watcher #16: Money

I know, the post is late…but, let’s talk about money…

Or, alternatively, we could stick our hands in boiling water, slather with butter, season and enjoy!

There are lots of things in this world that can be bought with money: a home, a car, a wife (mail order or domestic), and even children. Now, albeit most of us can’t handle dark humor, what most of us can handle is the card in your pocket and the cash in your wallet.

Or, unless you’re like most Americans, you can’t. However, there is hope yet, dear readers.

I only bring up such a subject because as of late, I’ve found myself spending quite a lot, some of which is in preparation for my second year of college, but as for others, we can claim these to be ‘exercises in financial freedom’.

But how far does that freedom take you down the rabbit hole?

Let’s take something into account for a moment and get familiar with the term semiotics. Semiotics, plainly put, is the study of signs and symbols as well as their interpretation by ourselves and other individuals.

What does this have to do with money,’ you may be asking, and I’m glad you did. Think for a moment about your five senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Each one of these senses, for all of us, have a relatively balanced scale of what it does or doesn’t enjoy.

You shudder at the sight of blood,

You cringe at the sound of a chalkboard,

You jerk your head away at the smell of rotting food,

You jerk your arm away quickly when someone pinches it,

And, when someone gives you pizza with pineapple, your taste buds go cross-eyed.

Semiotics is, in my opinion, the manipulation of these senses in order to achieve the monetary gain sought after by the hungry dark lords of the underworld. Granted, this is a subjective notion, but it’s easy to see how this is achieved through quite a few different means on the part of those wanting to ensnare your senses and leave you powerless in the face of a purchasable product.

Let’s start with the easy picks:

Your mouth waters at the sight of italian food,

You distinctly start bopping your head to a store’s music,

You open your nostrils to the scent of some elegant perfume,

You brush against the side of a plush blanket and begin to muse over a nap,

Or, when you’re greeted in  the morning with the first cup of liquid gold, your soul is revived.

All of this can, and will, be used against you in the pursuit of the hard-earned cash in your wallet, or the hard-nagged for cash given straight from that parental teet quite a few of you cannot seem to stop suckling on. But hey, who am I to knock someone else’s hustle? Having loving parents is a wonderful thing.

 

But I’m not here to explain that which I don’t understand.

 

I’m here to explain what I can understand best about my fellow Americans and the dirty habits behind this insatiable idea of consumerism we all have. Take a moment to grab, or envision, the debit card you have in your wallet. Check its corners, its numbers, the wear and tear on it, and even the little chip embedded inside.

Something about this little card detaches us from a hard-earned paper dollar that we’ve all come to understand as monetary compensation for a good or service.

We also live in this digital age where any- and everything can be checked up at the scan of a thumbprint, retina, or, god forbid, your face.

(I mean, seriously, they already have your money after buying that phone; are you really handing over your biometrics as well? Topic for another day perhaps).

Anyway, the point is if any of us were checking the bank as much as we checked our social media, we might realize that we’re in some serious shit. Seriously, how many times do you expect a credit card company to allow you to ignore them before they send the forces of darkness — this is also known as a collection agency — after your pumpkin spice chai latte lovin’ ass.

 

News Flash: Not Long

 

Personally, I hate the idea of spending something I worked hard on something else that, in any given amount of time, will seem so frivolous. It makes you look like someone who doesn’t value your own time. That’s going to be the major takeaway from this issue, because where there’s a post downing everyone for spending money without also offering a solution is a troll that needs to be soaked in gasoline and have a cigarette put out on him.

 

The Equation is Simple:  

R±(T/M)≈W

 

It’s definitely not the most elegant looking thing, but it gets the job done for what we need it for. Here’s a key to understand those variables that operate within the equation.

R= response,

T=time,

M=money, and

W=wellbeing

Before you opt-out of the post because of the scary equation, just hear me out for like two paragraphs.

Your time will always, in some way, be predicated around your money. It’s a sad fact, but  unless you want to live in the woods until deforestation hits everyone on a massive scale, you’ll need to be earning in some way to live in our modern society.

Your time, in essence, is being dictated by the amount of your money you have, forever and always, for better or worse. You’re either spending time to make money, or spending a bit of money to make time more appealing (e.g. fun hobbies that cost a bit, vacations, nights at the movies, etc.).

Whereas your time will always be dictated by your money, your response to this division of time will either add or take away from your well-being, hence the scary plus or minus symbol in the equation.

So, in essence, remember that you’re the one who dictates the response given to the division of your time by the amount of money you do or don’t have.

So plan ahead, make budgets, always spend less than you make, plan for retirement early, and most of all, never allow your situation to become the excuse to simply spend more or work yourself to death for someone else. Turn your hobby into a business, make some on the side, or be happy when you break even. You may not have won more, but you sure as hell didn’t lose what you worked hard for.

It’s the little things that eventually add up to something big.

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