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Life is for living, or so the annoying posters at my old job used to scream at me. So, allegedly, I’m supposed to be trying new things and enjoying myself. But more often than not, I find myself stubbornly refusing to do things that I know for a fact I’ll probably enjoy, or will at least make my life a little easier. Like our subtly racist grandparents we find ourselves apologizing for, I am “set it my ways.”
1. Reading Books On A Kindle
I’m still at a point in my life where I like to read books–or at least pretend that I do. I have a fun game that I play with myself where I order a book from Amazon every time I hear it might be slightly intriguing, and then I let it sit on my shelf for months until I ultimately forget about it. If I suddenly feel the urge to read something, I end up lamenting that I don’t have anything around worth digging into. It’s like a more expensive, intellectual version of the “there’s nothing to eat in this fucking apartment” game. What could I do to solve this? Get a Kindle. I mean, it probably wouldn’t help the compulsive book buying, but at least it’d be cheaper. Plus, it would save space, and I could get any book I was in the mood for at a moment’s notice. Have I done this? Nope. Why? Because I like physical books too much. I like the smell of a new book or the feel of an old one. I like how sometimes a used book is dogeared, and I wonder what the person before me had to do when he or she marked that page. I also just like getting to hold this thing in my hands that has a complete, self-contained story within it. I don’t get that kind of wonder from the Kindle–but it would be really convenient if I did.
2. Eating At Nice Restaurants
I like food. I’m a fan. Have been for a long time. I was watching Food Network when I was in middle school, and it was solely comprised of a loud Italian guy yelling, “Bam!” and a chick with a mouth way too big for her face. Don’t worry guys, I cringe at the term “foodie” just as much as a self-respecting human being should. The only time I ever take pictures of food is when the purpose is to make my friends jealous (especially if I’m back in Texas eating barbecue). So you’d think that given my love for all things culinary, I’d sample restaurants all over the city. So did I. But I just really don’t. I frequent the same four establishments in my neighborhood, along with the occasional fast food joint. Otherwise, I cook for myself. I often wonder why I don’t expand my horizons. After all, I’ve been told there’s some pretty good food that’s not in the general radius of Ventura Boulevard, but I’m too comfortable with familiarity. I know Mort’s has a great reuben. I know the Mediterranean diner around the corner kills it when it comes to kabobs. Hell, even the Taco Bell in my neighborhood makes the best damn Cheesy Gordita Crunch I’ve ever had. If I want variety, I’ll make it myself. Restaurants fancy enough to have a chef instead of a cook? Pass.
3. Rock Climbing
Everything about rock climbing appeals to me. People who go mountain climbing tend to be fun, relaxed individuals. You get to buy cool gear and talk with people about buying more cool gear (this is also why I’m into guitars, cars, and cameras). Plus, there’s the added bonus of getting in shape without the mindlessness of going to the gym (read: running around in circles). So why don’t I? There are a few reasons that jump out. Laziness is a given. In spite of how much more fun rock climbing seems than running on a treadmill, it’s still a physical chore. When I’m in the moment, or finished with it, the feeling is great, and I’m glad I did. It’s the whole getting there thing that slows me down. Money is also a given. I’ve sunk too much dough into several hobbies over the years to know that I won’t be able to let myself get away with buying “just the essentials.” Like anything else where the “gear” aspect of it is almost as important as the “doing” aspect, I have a tendency to fall into the stupid hole of buying more things assuming they’ll either increase my enjoyment of the activity or magically make me better at it, rather than focusing on doing the obvious, which is to just practice and get good.
4. Saving For Retirement
The difference between me and every other shortsighted 20-something who doesn’t have a single penny stashed away for when/if he or she becomes a geezer is that I know better. I started out as a finance major, so I don’t have the luxury of playing dumb when it comes to Roth IRAs and mutual funds. I know exactly how much money I ought to save and where exactly I should put it. The first thing you learn about personal retirement savings is that every year earlier in your life you can start saving will pay off hugely for you down the road. So why not? For the same reason I took out student loans instead of working a full time job during college, I’m banking on Old Knox to take care of it. That dude will be fucking loaded, so why should I be funding his misadventures at the expense of my own? Especially when I can’t even afford to buy decent liquor most of the time. The obvious folly in this plan is if I don’t end up rich like I’m supposed to. College Knox assumed that Postgrad Knox would have a fat salary, and would be able to knock out those pesky student loans in a couple years. He didn’t have the foresight to think that maybe the near future version of himself would be just as poor and dumb as he was.
So, Old Knox, if you’re reading this, I hope you got rich, because the 401k cupboard is bare, motherfucker.