Monday, September 22, 2008

[Feature] It's time for a little self-control

Back in June, Steve Jobs made my dream come true by announcing the new iPhone 3G, at a mere $199 per pop. That was like getting an iPod cheap, except it would be a smart, nay genius, phone that would do SO MUCH MORE than just being a plain old iPod. While I had deemed the $500+ price tag for the first iPhone a way unnecessary expense for my modest budget, the announcement of this cheaper-and-better model made my heart flutter with hope. Come July, I would finally be getting one. I had grandiose plans of what I'd do with my phone- Facebook/Urbanspoon/Twitteriffic apps, check. Personalized ringtones ripped from my iTunes collection, check. Unlimited text messaging?? I was so prepared to never talk to anyone other than through text messages again.

Except... It turns out that when you're a current AT&T customer in the middle of a 2-year contract, there are a lot of fine print to sort through in your quest for an iPhone. The kicker for me being that I get to pay $200 extra dollars for the phone of my dreams, which is kind of an ironic and cruel punishment for being a loyal, pre-existing AT&T customer. Thanks, guys, I'm so glad I stuck with you all these years!

I cried about this a little. Well, not literally, but enough to annoy the people in my life with all my 'BUT I WANT AN IPHONE NOW' talk/whine. To prevent myself from giving in and getting one, I brought in the big guns- mainly instituting a slap bet with Julia, in which she was allowed to slap me if I broke down and got one. And for all of you who are rolling your eyes and being like 'it's not that great, there are better things to covet,' stop right there, I've already stopped listening to you.

The thing is, I can totally go get one right now, there's nothing holding me back (except the wrath of Julia's palm on my cheek). But I'm holding out, until at least my birthday in December (best.birthday present to myself.ever), OR if I'm really good, February '09, when I'm eligible for a phone upgrade. It seems so torturous, since I want it so much and can technically afford to go get one. However, here is why I'm holding out: self-restraint. I'm not very good at this. Say I've already had a ginormous breakfast of the Michael Phelps diet proportions. Dangle a biscuit in front of me, and I'm a goner. Say I make a (futile) no-shopping-this-week pact with myself. I'm bored at lunch, so I stop by J.Crew because looking never harmed anyone, and I leave the store with a shopping bag in hand. See where I'm going with this? I tell myself I'm NOT going to do things, and then I weasel my way out of it with irrational rationalizations.

Well not this time! If there's anything my desire for an iPhone taught me, it's that sometimes, my love for materialistic possessions outweigh my power of self-control and will. There was a time period when it seemed like EVERYONE I KNOW (and their moms) were getting an iPhone, and I was dreaming of one constantly. Obsessive? Yeah. Here we are weeks later, and I still REALLY REALLY want one, but I no longer dream about it constantly. You know, just at night when I close my eyes.

So from here on out, I am instituting my version of Lent, called JENt. (I know it's corny, ok??) I am practicing an intense 73ish-or-possibly-more days of self-restraint. The time will be used to think about my upcoming purchase, whether I really want it (the answer is YES), to save up money, give Apple time to come out with a better/cheaper one in time for the holidays, so forth. I think it's good to take a step back from the things you think you want and can't live without, and have a period of reflection, which is basically what real Lent is about. Also, the period of waiting will make the iPhone purchase that much sweeter. Cue heavens-opening-up music.

Now, I'm going to be annoying here and ask you to also think about giving up something with me. It's SO much more fun to have company when doing something, yeah? Also, misery loves company...what? I didn't say that..

But seriously. While I hold off on buying the iPhone until December/later, why don't you try putting a hold on something you're kinda sorta obsessed with, or partake in an act that will shake things up a bit in your life? My friend Ashley planted this seed in my head, and she's offered to give up handbag shopping during that period. If you know us girls at all, that is a big deal. My friend Leslie is giving up bacon. Yes, I don't know if I can go that long without bacon either. Fellow blogger Jorge is giving up eating pizza; it's his favorite food. I was touched by the support! Your period of Jent doesn't have to be quite so long- 73 days is practically the double of 40 days of normal Lent. But I think sometimes we all need to practice a period of self-discipline, which is why I'm advocating this.

It's going to be hard. I gave up coffee this past Lent and it wasn't easy. But I think you'll start to realize that maybe the things you think you absolutely need in your life, aren't so needed. And at the end of it all, you can be proud that you stuck to what you set out to achieve and climbed your Mt. Everest, whatever it may have been. So... Take my challenge. We're all in this together, and I promise it'll be rewarding.

Oh, and in the meantime, if you have an iPhone, try not to flaunt it in front of me TOO much. While I am SO happy! for you, I'd much rather be the one doing the flaunting. Hey, at least I'm being honest.


Anonymous said...

I am currently exercising a rare case of restraint in the consumer electronics area with regard to a nifty new point-n-shoot camera. Every other day I think I'll just go ahead and order the damn thing. But I'll keep it up as a show of support.

btw, I love the text message bubbles on the iPhone. They make msg-ing so much more fun.

Oops. ;)

les said...

baaaaaaacon. as previously mentioned though, i've now substituted eating french fries for bacon, so i'm sure i'm still doing horrible damage to my arteries :\

sang said...

I'm willing to participate in this, but I just don't know what to give up. Maybe I'm too afriad to think of one?