Deferring Your Wants
We live in a microwave culture. We want everything, now.
A major burden for new doctors is the size of their medical school debt. Unfortunately, most medical students finance their education with loans, as Alison and I did. While the long term return on investment may be good, eventually, the repayment period is especially heavy. Since Alison and I are in the repayment period now, I’ve started to notice how many wants I really have.
We all have wants. Whether it’s cars, tech, or clothing, there’s always something out there that we’d like to have. The problem is that our wants sometimes don’t line up with our status in life. Alison and I would love to have a home with a nice yard. Right now, that’s just not a possibility. So we’re renting a townhouse. It’s a step up from our apartment, but not quite the dream.
During the times of our lives when we don’t have the luxury of getting some of our wants, we really have to dig in and defer those wants for our current needs. So while I might like a new computer, Alison and I should instead pay down some student loans.
It’s actually the mark of manliness to yield to the needs of your family. It’s the sign of true adulthood when you can defer pleasure. I know that eventually we’ll have enough for a new computer, but that isn’t today.
That’s the lie that your wants will tell you. That if you can’t have it today, you’ll never get it. The ridiculous thing is that when you finally can get that want, it will be way better than today’s version. Everything is always getting better, companies are always launching new products. So while I can’t get the computer I want today, when I finally do upgrade, it will be way better than what I would have gotten today.
In all of this, we have to make sure we don’t become materialistic. It’s ok to want things. It’s not ok to be envious of others who have it, or to let it consume us.
When you’re at a stage in life when you can’t afford wants, it’s the perfect time to be grateful for all of the things you have now. After all, Alison and I may be broke right now, but our version of broke is actually quite comfortable.