Saturday, January 14, 2006

So, the big drama this week: Should I purchase a new iPod?

Yes, this is as big as it gets in the Saint Paul...we are a crazy place.

I entered this year in the Lutheran Volunteer Corps to work for social justice, live intentionally in community, and live simply. What does that mean, you say? Well, it's different for everyone. I specifically wanted to explore living simply this year, and try and understand what that means for me.

Then how the hell does an iPod fit in? To live simply is not to rank simplicity. People in LVC have cars, laptops, iPods, etc... The question lies with me and me alone. I use an iPod religiously, as music is - without a doubt - one of the most spiritual things in my life. My life has a soundtrack, no question about it. In fact, almost every little part of my life has music that influences it, colors it, and informs it. Music guides me, sometimes when I feel nothing else could.

On to the gritty specifics: iPods are $325 (with tax). I have $45 in gift certificates to a certain retail store known in some circles as "Best Buy". Now, $45 will give me two nice, brand-new DVDs. But, an iPod will be something I will use...well, like I said before, religiously. So, what to do?

Well, don't worry, I have argued that one inside my head long enough to make me wonder about having a split personality. If I buy it, that's 3 months straight of not spending money (aka illogical) in order to pay it off. In LVC, we earn $100/month spending money, as everything else goes to rent, food, and transportation.

And, I think to myself, what am I doing this year for? Is it to live on $100/month (or at least to try)? I think, for me, it is.

Man, it's so different that college, where my credit card was a saving grace. Nothing was out of reach for me then. But this society that keeps telling us we can only be happy by buying things is starting to wear on me. It's like a lunch at McDonald's: At first, it tastes good, but then after a while you get that horrible film in your stomach and your mouth tastes like crap.

I don't want to preach - this is what works for me, this is how I am seeing it all. But, let me say again, simplicity isn't about looking down on others for having stuff. We can't make it a contest, because nobody is Mother Teresa. And having money is not evil. It's all about how you use it, and how it affects you.

Maybe that will be the biggest lesson I take from this year of LVC - It's almost refreshing to not have money. You can, as a good friend told me, "finally exist."

I, of course, still want that damn iPod. Sigh.


At 11:17 PM , Anonymous Laura said...

Jason, I definately do not think you should get an Ipod!!! I think that if you have one already you are luckier than most kids in the world! If music is so important to you, you should be able to enjoy it without the use of an Ipod! Sing to yourself if you have to! Act like an adult and realize that you can be happy without some stupid piece of technology! SO THERE! I will get off of my soapbox now, thank you.

At 9:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laura who?

At 1:33 PM , Anonymous David Booher said...

I understand the feeling. It's a bit of a quandary. I guess the real question is, will you buy one after your internship ends?

At 4:27 PM , Anonymous Caitlin said...

Please, do not let Jason sing. Cole will start singing and then we'll REALLY be sorry. J/K

At 9:08 AM , Blogger Jason said...

That is the question, David. And I wonder what the answer will be.


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