Thursday, January 15, 2009

Making Responsible Decisions

It's not so easy being a grown-up. I mean, sure, there's wine and freedom involved, but I think today I finally started to learn that being a grown-up is more than that. It's about making difficult choices that will benefit you in the long run. For example, the last week or so I've been having some financial difficulty. Nothing too major, and I've now sorted it out, but it really got me thinking about some of the choices I've made in the past and how maybe they were not the most mature route I could have taken. For example, in college I built up a lot of credit card debt doing things that I didn't necessarily need to be doing, like backpacking through Europe and the like. Now, I'm not saying that I regret doing those things; I gained quite a bit of life experience throughout my various adventures. I think maybe there's a time and place for being young and stupid. But now that I'm older and perhaps a tiny bit wiser, I'm starting to look at the big picture. Yes, it would be nice to go travelling-if I truly had the money to do so. It would be great to take out a lot more student loans, but what happens when I finally have to start paying them off? It doesn't seem like such a big deal right now to make a late payment on a bill, but what about in 5 years or so when I decide I want to buy a house? Or even before that-what if next year I get a job in a city where I need a car and I don't have the proper credit to buy one? What if I don't build up my credit to where it needs to be in the next couple of years, and then end up wanting to get married? Not that I see that really happening in the near future, but what if it does? I can't bring bad credit into a marriage. I know this is all hypothetical at this point in my life, but to be honest, it won't be hypothetical a few years from now. And the time has finally come to start thinking about that. I can no longer be immature about my life choices and always opt for immediate gratification. Yes, it seems like a really awful prospect to have to wait a few years to start my PhD, but how smart is it to start one when I can't afford it? It's not like I'm going to medical school to be a brain surgeon; religious studies professors aren't known for their inflated salaries.

So I've decided to start taking the bull by the balls, so to speak. My current problems just about sorted, it's now time for a long term plan. I'm thinking seriously about donating eggs. I won't lie, my first priority would be to get out of debt entirely, but as high-paying one-off things go, it's a good thing to do. There are plenty of worse ways to make a lot of money. I know a lot of people have a moral objection to doing this; women only have a limited number of eggs, there will be a kid somewhere in the world with my genes, etc etc. But I don't see it that way. I see it as a chance to give an infertile couple the thing they want most. I mean, I personally think it would be wiser for said hypothetical couple to adopt, as there are millions of homeless children out there to love, but if they really want a child by birth, and I can give it to them and get out of debt in the meantime, why not? Like I said, there are plenty of worse ways to earn money. Step two on my road to maturity and financial stability-take at least a year off before my PhD. I don't really want to, but it's the smart thing to do. I need to find a job and save up money so that I can do this the responsible way.

Normally I'm not a proponant of New Year's Resolutions, as I see no reason why the Julian calendar and the position of the Earth around the sun should have any effect on our ability to efficiently resolve ourselves on a goal, but I guess if I were to make one, this counts as mine. It's time to start living like an adult and planning for the future. In 3...2...1..go!


Jake Kim said...

See, the thing about life is that you may start thinking 'oh, I gotta hold back until I get a real job and make some real money,' but in the end, either you still find not enough money for those 'cool stuffs' you've been postponing for a decade or so, or you just have no time to spend your scrumptious savings unless you 'retire,' or you just mentally can't start spending again since there are other 'concerns' that you haven't had before, for which you think you should be prepared. And by then, your 20's will be long gone, mid-to-late 30-ish at the earliest if you don't get married, or the golden era never comes back at all if there comes the next generation under your custody. And sadly, certain things or adventures or styles of life you're yearning for become rather unsuitable in later stages of life - then again, you end up having another set of 'coulda woulda shoulda.' I'm not saying you should keep spending, I do believe your current concerns are all valid, yet this is coming from someone who has been living under agonizing budget constraint for the last 10 years. Economics teaches you to maximize your lifetime utility, which sounds perfect on paper, but a total bs in the real, unforeseeable world. You just have to try to minimize remorse and leave nothing of it at any and every given time.

Arianne said...

It's those same responsible decissions that have prevented me from traveling to Europe and starting a family. LOL.... I used to laugh to myself when people would say "you'll always have money issues"... When I was saying we are waiting for something.