You hear it on radio and on TV.
You see it on the internet, in the papers and in the magazines.
It’s plastered on everything from store fronts to billboards, on the sides of city buses and across the windshield of that sporty little number at the car dealership down the street.
Yet day after day you shrug it off.
You smother the urge.
Despite the attractive packaging you fight the temptation and stand firm.
Then one day―you buckle, you sign your name on the dotted line and take the buy-now-pay-later plunge.
Congrats! You’ve just become a card-holding member of the ever-increasing IOU demographic, not to mention the proud owner of a brand new thingamabob, which, given it’s within your budget is kinda cool.
But now how well do you suppose this type of deferred payment plan works in regards to your Everyday Hopes and Dreams?
Probably not all that well, right?
Because “by now” you know full well that if you go on postponing those hopes and dreams you’re going to have to “pay later.”
By now you know the longer you continue sweeping them under the rug the greater the cost will be, and frankly, who can afford that?
In my youth, writes bestselling author and career consultant Laurence G. Boldt, I spent a portion of my spare time visiting the elderly in nursing homes. I was struck, time and again, by how many of these people expressed regret about things they had always wanted to do with their lives, but hadn’t. It wasn’t just that they had failed to achieve their dreams: they had never even worked on them. Many had secretly cherished an idea of something they wanted to do for twenty or thirty years or more, but had never even taken the first step. On the other hand, there were a relative few who had lived their dreams and followed their hearts desire. They had an energy, a vitality and a sense of humor the others lacked. They seemed more at peace with themselves. Even more moving was the empathetic way these people, many bedridden and with trembling hands, urged me, with all the strength and force they could muster, to follow my own dreams, not to allow what had happened to them to happen to me. Had this occurred once or twice it would have had made a strong impression, but its repetition left an indelible mark.
So, did this story leave you feeling warm and fuzzy or did you find it a bit unsettling?
If you’re leaning toward the latter could it be because like the majority of those you just read about you too feel the best things in life are passing you by?
Well then the question you need to ask yourself is, how can I avoid such a fate?
How do I join the ranks of the relative few?
In my youth, I’d often ride my Schwinn Stingray down to Nick’s bike shop and check out the rows of new bikes and pegboard covered walls showcasing every part and accessory one could imagine.
In those days I’d ride the rubber off my bike, so suffice it to say Ol’ Schwinny was in pretty sad shape, including the seat which was tattered and torn beyond repair. Yet without any inbound cash flow to speak of I could hardly afford a new one.
Then one day at the shop I saw it ― a padded seat cover.
Hey Nick, I hollered across the shop, how much for this…
Seven bucks kid.
Seven bucks, I thought, whoa, what a deal!
That was like a third the price of a new seat.
Pedaling home that afternoon I couldn’t tell you which were turning faster, the wheels on my bike or the wheels in my head.
Anyhow that night at the dinner table, after choking down every last agonizing bite of veggies spooned onto my plate, I pleaded my case.
…and it’s only seven bucks.
By the look on my dad’s face you’d have thought I said seven hundred.
Oh well, I gave it a shot, then again I wasn’t about to give up quite that easily, so I immediately went to work on plan B, which included (but wasn’t limited to)
Scouring the neighborhood for pop bottles and redeeming them for five cents apiece at the grocery store (this was prior to recycling centers)
Helping with as many chores as possible around the house in hopes of netting a few tokens of appreciation
Saving the lunch money my folks gave me every other Friday rather than surrendering it to the ice cream man in exchange for a far more nutritious diet of Bomb Pops and Pixy Stix.
All in all it took the better part of six weeks to save up the seven smackeroos and not a second longer for me to race down to Nick’s and back home again where I tore into that package like a grizzly into a spring picnic basket, unbolted the seat from its perch and slipped on the new wrapper.
Now while seven bucks might sound like little more than pocket change, I assure you this was no ordinary out of pocket purchase. That day when I emptied out my pockets and deposited my life savings onto the counter I stormed out of Nick’s bike shop with much more than a brand new metal flake green seat cover tucked under my arm. I walked away knowing that if you put in the time and energy, if you’re patient and willing to make a few hard sacrifices a great deal of good can be accomplished.
Had my folks given me the seven dollars I’d have been extremely grateful, but they didn’t, and for that I’m forever grateful, because when I put myself back in the sneakers of that ten year old anxiously watching as Nick unravels the dollar bill and painstakingly separates the assortment of silver, then suspiciously asking, are you sure there are 50 pennies in each of these rolls?
Well, that shit is priceless.
For what it’s worth, I’m not suggesting that saving a few bucks over the course of a couple of weeks is a major accomplishment, or for that matter that digging out your credit card for a slapdash purchase every now and again is a major offense. I’m simply noting that when it comes to those things of real meaning and value you’re going to have to dig a little deeper, that you’re going to have to work for it ꟷ up front and in advance, which, considering the alternative, is a mighty small price to pay.
See ya soon, till then, keeep it up