Wrong Way To Motivate

A certain post in one of my Facebook groups reminded me of something from high school.

When I was in tenth grade (for the second time due to transferring schools), one of my teachers once mentioned planning to get her master’s degree. In what subject, I forgot, but I suppose I asked her about it. I really don’t remember what I said, but I do remember her answer. She told me she was pursuing it because she wanted to be able to walk into a store for a pair of $600 shoes and say she has the money for them.

I didn’t know what to think of that. To this day, I still don’t. I do now understand her intention with that answer was likely motivating me to take my own schoolwork more seriously, but that came off as an extremely shallow reason. I realize she meant she was trying to financially better herself, but surely, there was a better way to phrase it.

I won’t lie and pretend I don’t like shopping. I do, and in the last few years, clothes have made the list of what I like to shop for (when it’s of my own wishes, not someone else’s). But I don’t think there’s any article of clothing on the planet that looks so appealing, I’d be willing to give $600 for a single quantity of it. Especially not clothing that’s worn on the ground! One “talent” I do have is the tendency to give my shoes a pounding. That $600 would become a waste in 2 to 3 months.

Obviously, these are my values, but I don’t like the idea of materialism being a motivator for education. For starters, education itself is expensive. I think I’d sound very funny if I told someone I spent thousands of dollars to be able to blow thousands of dollars. That sort of reason would likely motivate only someone whose end goal was wealth. My end goal is stability, which is not synonymous with wealthiness. That doesn’t mean I’d complain if I were rich. It means it’s not necessary for me to be happy. For me, when I can say I fully support myself without living paycheck to paycheck, I’ll see myself as successful, regardless of what the number allowing me that privilege is.

For the sake of not coming off as “holier than thou”, I’ll say right now I do not think I’m better than anyone whose end goal is wealth and purchasing multi-hundred dollar clothing. If that teacher’s given reason makes sense to someone else or motivates, great. I’m just not that person. Yes, there are expensive things I do want and sometimes obtain, but those things have many more functional uses than strutting pavement, so I see them as more valuable for my own use.

I’m certainly not above materials. I have a big collection of books, games, DVDs, and dolls, as well as some smaller collectible things like jewelry, boxes, and stuff animals, and I have a $100 phone. Whenever I think about that teacher’s comment, I think about how much $600 could buy besides a single pair of shoes. Perhaps it’s only because she said shoes I found her answer very weird since shoes are meant to be worn outdoors and would naturally ruin over time from use. Maybe she was exaggerating and merely trying to emphasize a point. Maybe she thought that was the goal of all students. Or maybe it was some kind of last resort since I wasn’t an easy student to motivate. I value the job I have now over school, so she wouldn’t be entirely off the mark. Only wrong it’s money I care about most.

I do plan to return to school, but I have my own motivation and finance is only a part of them. The most important parts are somewhat intangible. And one is human.

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Materialism?

Going by dictionary definition, being materialistic means:

  1. excessively concerned with material possessions; money-oriented.

I don’t think that sounds like me. However, sometimes, I do feel materialistic. When I have days where I feel like my mind is a battlefield, I try to keep myself going by remembering things I have to look forward to, but the first thing that pops into my mind are material things. Even my list of little things to live for consists mostly of material things, and nearly half of the things on my bucket list require money as well.

Right now, what I’m looking forward to is getting an iPad Air in April. If things go well, it should happen. It’s not all I have going for me, but it’s all I can think of when worse becomes worst and I’m ready to punt myself out a window. An iPad is something I’ve wanted since my second high school began giving them to students in 2012. I have to admit it’s sort of a revenge thing. Well, not revenge, but my school gave out the iPad 2 with restrictions placed that made the darn thing worthless for out of school entertainment (good grades equaled the privilege to take them home). If I got an iPad Air, not only would I have the better device, but it’d be mine and mine alone. Sort like childish teasing. “Nyah, nyah! My iPad’s better than yours and you can’t have it!” Heh. Just thinking about that makes me laugh a bit.

Of course, if I don’t get it, I’m not going to end it all, but I will be disappointed. Not because I won’t be able to laugh at my old school, but because it is something I genuinely want for myself. Basically, it feels like something I’ve earned just for making it to that point.

I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. On one hand, as I said, it is something that keeps me going and I am buying it myself. On the other hand, I don’t like that I seem to be kept going only by material things. Then again, I guess the same could be said about living for anything or anyone besides one’s self. I know it’s a common thing for parents to say they can’t live without their children. While the loss of a child is a pain I’ll never know (and do not want to), I still don’t like the idea of being ready to kill my own self over someone else, regardless of my relation to that person.

But a materialistic person doesn’t necessarily live for possessions, correct? They will do nearly, if not absolutely, anything to get money or material, but they don’t live for it. A materialistic person would do whatever possible to get back something that was lost than settle for disappointment and move on, I’d think. Or maybe that is also living for materials. Hmm. Maybe I’m over-thinking again.

In any case, I think I’m on a good level. As long as I am aware and try to watch myself, I don’t think I need to worry.