The anticipation. The sleepless night. The setting out of the cookies… the eating of ice cream for breakfast (I’ll let you decide which tradition goes with which event). And the getting of sweet sweet stuff.
You’d made your list, or dropped super subtle hints about the exact lego set that you definitely wanted.
Then you wait, and the waiting is intolerable. But it finally comes. And there’s more anticipation. Will it be there? Will Santa come through? (Yes. He came every year on my birthday, too. We have a special bond.)
Now, as a legally defined grown-up, it’s pretty different.
There’s a lot less thrill. Ice cream for breakfast just feels kind of sad, and I can never really think of anything that I want.
When a grown-up wants something, they just … get it.
And so now, we mainly just sit around enjoying the special events because they have good (at least for me) childhood memories.
I just assumed that feeling of anticipation and excitement was something that was gone.
But it’s really not…
I got it back, kind of unexpectedly.
It was last year, it was summer and I was living lean (not weight wise… but financially… not a lot to go around). My birthday was coming and my brother was quizzing me for gift ideas.
And I actually really wanted something.
I knew it was silly, but I had completely fallen victim to advertising. In a way that I hadn’t since I was a kid.
I wanted a pair of Beats by Dre headphones. Red. Powerbeats (the ones for athletes that clip being the ear). Just like the ones that Lebron James wore in the commercial.
I am not a grown-up. I am clearly a small boy. But they just looked so freaking cool.
I knew it was frivolous, and usually it would have been something that, since I wanted it that badly, I would have gotten on my own. But because I was really upping the living-on-a-budget game, it wasn’t justifiable.
It’s precisely things like that which suck about budgeting. I work hard, I should be able to occasionally get something that I want. So frustrating.
My brother said he’d take a look, but they were pretty expensive.
But in true small-boy fashion, I was really hoping that it would come through. And I really believed it would happen. Seriously, I was already picturing my new life with my new sexy headphones.
And so my birthday rolled around, and we were hanging out… all grown-up style, and he reached up behind the bookshelf and took down this little wrapped box.
And it hit me.
It was back!!
I knew exactly what it was, and I was so freaking excited.
I became insufferable. I was so slow unwrapping it, I read the whole manual, and took out each individual little component… ugh… it was terrible.
But it was great. It really was like I was a kid again.
I think part of the source of that great anticipation/excitement you get as a kid is from your complete powerlessness to get anything for yourself. You might have a little allowance money, but you can’t just slap a credit card on the table and get a Power Rangers Morphin Platform.
So usually you have to wait for the stuff you want. And as a kid… it feels like the worst. But actually, the release of that waiting-tension is what gave you that awesome feeling on those special days.
And now, it’s a feeling I can replicate.. precisely because I don’t have a ton of money!
The thing about living on less is that you don’t just immediately scratch that ‘I want that’ itch. You have to save up…. Even little things, like a new book or movie (do people still buy movies?).
I can go into a Chapters and find a book I really want. But instead of buying it on the spot, I need to go home and tuck away 5 bucks every week for a month…
And guess what… It’s fun to wait!
I love the excitement.
I love really wanting something, and getting to want it for a while before I have it.
In my old life I would have skipped that step for the convenience of having it RIGHT NOW.
But having a little less disposable income means I get to really enjoy the thought of having something, before I actually get it.
One of the unexpected perks of living on less.