Monday, April 9, 2012

Don't Count the Days, Make the Days Count

I have been thinking a lot about money recently as I have been deciding my summer plans. I realize I love money. Having it. Earning it. Holding it. Money feels like power. To this, my brother would say, "Em you really want to go into Education?" The answer is yes, though. I don't need a lot of money because I am probably one of the most frugal people I know. I just like getting a paycheck now and then. It's very empowering.

I don't really know why I am so frugal. As a kid, I never wanted for anything really. If something had a purpose or was worthwhile I was allowed to have it. My brother and I always knew what was an acceptable purchase and we had a lot of things. For instance, we would be allowed to have a computer game, but not a dirt bike because we would never use a dirt bike. This standard of usefulness still informs all of my purchases. I will be perfectly willing to go out to dinner with friends, because that is an investment in my friendship, but I would never go to Shaw's and buy food when I could just use my meal plan. That s a waste of money and I hate wasting money.

I sometimes worry that college is a waste of money too. I believe in education. That's not the issue at all. I knw that if I want to be a teacher, writer, or whatever Simmons will help me get there. I love it here and can already see myself transforming into a smarter, more critical thinker. The only issue would be that my life expectancy is kind of low. Excluding random variables like the world ending in 2012 or getting hit by a bus on Brookline Avenue I am still only scheduled to live a dozen years. I'm not being pessimistic. I want to survive and believe I will, but objectively, even excluding the increased chance of heart disease, I take poison that causes cancer, liver, and kidney disease, with every dose. If I die in only a score of years, college will have barely been worth it. If you count the days it will barely pay itself off.

I was thinking in this dreary manner when I saw on my friend's white board, "Don't Count the Days, Make the Days Count" and I thought, "you know what? I like college." College is not as hard as having a heart transplant, but it's pretty difficult. I am challenged in a new way all the time and I don't want to worry about counting the dollars and cents, the days and hours I have here. I want to go out to get chocolate at Max Brennar's tonight even though I had Easter Eggs for breakfast. I want to talk about racism even though I know I am hugely guilty of it. College is most likely barely worth it if I count the days, but if I put aside my frugality and enjoy the upcoming lecture on World War II, maybe I can make the days count. Luckily, life is more than consecutive financial calculations.


Deb Roberts said...

I like this blog entry.It is very Emily.

I was waiting for someone else to disagree with you, but since no one else chimed in, I will disagree with you on two things.

One --- the graft average longevity is 12 years. Not your life expectancy. You know that. You could be an outlier OR you could get a new heart in 12 years. Darn Dr. D.

And secondly, college is totally worth it. If you have a great 4 years, it is totally worth it for those four years. Hopefully the degree will help you get a job, and since you like money so much, that is a good thing too.


Suzanne said...

I keep having that stupid 9.5 month "countdown" going in my head -only I never change it from 9.5 months-I don't actually count it down. Your mom is right - those timelines are just timelines. Do you know how much can change in 12 years? I think you should live like you want to live. Stay in college because it makes YOU happy! I rarely use my degrees on a daily basis, but the time I was in school shaped me in ways that impact every single day of my life.

Unknown said...

As another mom and someone you don't know Emily, I too will totally disagree with you!! Yes the enjoyment and fun of college is worth it whether to reap financial benefits or just life benefits. I'm a stay at home mom making no money, and yet I think my undergrad and graduate education was totally worth it!! For there is no price tag on how it makes me a better me and a better mom!!

As for the whole life expectancy you are being ridiculous....

You may have to ask your mom who I am, but I know your story and I've cried for you and celebrated with you. You are my rock at times, my little girl is 5 and if I ever get scared about her future, it's you I think of and how great you are doing with a new heart and it calms my nerves!!

So my dear even if something happens in the next 12 years, technology is amazing, and by then they'll be making hearts on some assembly line and people will be in and out of the hospital in a day or so!!

Also those doctors with their "great minds" sometimes aren't so smart, they too make mistakes and don't forget are still practicing...if I listen to them, I would have believed Nicole's heart wasn't going to make it to birth, and if by some fluke chance it did, we'd be on a transplant list when she was born. Yet here we are 5 years later and her heart is stable - yes maybe not 100% but stable and pumping. And don't even get me started on the life expectancy of her type of mito...again really they are just guessing and so often guessing wrong.

Enjoy every day at college and don't stress too much - I'm sure you realize there are much bigger more important things in life!!

Take care!