by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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I love this quote from Chris Williamson on the Modern Wisdom Podcast, and I have become a huge fan of his show recently.  The full quote, which is actually from the Rick and Morty cartoon goes like this:

Your boos mean nothing to me, I have seen what makes you cheer.

BAM!  Mic drop…

What a perfect metaphor to build a life around.  When you look around the world today, so much of it is built upon vicariously watching others fall.  Look at the news and you’ll see many of the biggest headlines are a fall from grace of a famous person like and actor, athlete or politician.  Our “Reality TV” shows that have the highest ratings tend to be drama-filled, combative and literally destructive of lives.  The Housewives franchise, The Kardashians, and others all have audiences spending time watching and waiting for someone to do something that gives you are reason to hate them, or to celebrate the fact that they screwed up and are paying the price of public scrutiny.

Is this healthy?  Productive?  Human?  In my opinion, no, no and sort of.  And herein lies the problem, we are so over-exposed to this way of thinking that it is easy to fall into these same traps.  If you watch the Housewives show all the time it is easy to start to see the world in the same way.  That you are entitled to adoration from others, that you are larger than life and that every facet of your life should be broadcast to the world.  Somehow we all think that everyone else cares what we do on the daily.  But lots of people do it, and so I guess I have to concede that it may truly be a human characteristic, as much as I hate to admit that.  But just because lots of people do it doesn’t mean I have to participate.

For example, I went to a party Friday night with a bunch of people I didn’t know and a few who I did.  I don’t drink except for a very rare occasion, and this was not one of them.  And I get people that ask me about this all the time, for example the host couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that I didn’t want a glass of wine or a beer like everyone else had.  She even whispered to me “Did you have a problem with alcohol in the past?  I laughed aloud, and just shook my head no.  She left perplexed, clearly it was just not a concept that she was familiar with.  Here is the thing, I don’t need the social lubricant of alcohol to make me feel comfortable in a room full of people I don’t know.  I can hold a conversation with most people who have something worthwhile to say, even if it takes a minute to find our way to that topic.

While most people make the statement: I don’t care what people think of me”, we know this is not totally true.  And I am not trying to say that I have complete disregard for the opinion of others, that would be an untrue statement. But it seems that in many cases I have less concern for the opinion of others than the majority of society.  I do my best to avoid the clichés and the trappings of perceived success that so many others seemingly prioritize.  My wife and I are very much aligned on this, as a good partnership should be.  It would be difficult for one of us to be caught up in the latest trends and the other doing their best to shun them.  We have a small house, perfect for the two of us.  We both drive vehicles that are several years old.  We do not go out to bougie Scottsdale bars and restaurants just to be seen.  I haven’t been to the WM Open in over a decade, I don’t care to be seen at a PGA Tour event despite an awful lot of people who seem to think their life rotates events like this.

Maybe growing up “Scottsdale adjacent” has turned my stomach to these things.  I see so much of the same cliche things on display all the time.  As the saying above goes, I have seen the things that make you cheer, so your disapproval means very little to me.  Old Town Scottsdale, where all the “cool kids” live, is riddled with $40,000 millionaires.  Four guys who are sharing a two bedroom condo and driving leased BMWs they’re two payments behind on is a common sight.  An empty fridge at home but bottle service at the bar on Friday night is the priority.  These people grow into over-mortgaged adults, with a house that they can barely afford and two newly leased cars n the driveway.  The priorities are so far out of whack it is ridiculous.  Looks, Money, Status is the mantra of the new generation of the semi-grown ups.  Those who outgrow this and get a realistic grasp on life, okay, maybe I’ll listen.  But until then, don’t bother trying to have any impact or influence on me.  I know what my priorities are, what makes me happy and has value for me.   If you think you are going to lure me into conforming to your world views, I have news for you, and it ain’t good.

See I’ve been there, I have been that guy.  I grew through this process myself.  Having not come from money, I always thought that is was essential to “be somebody”, whatever that means.  Now that I am older and have learned the hard way, I know better.  It is a lesson I am always trying to teach others, at least the ones who actually want to listen.  I did it the hard way, and went into debt living well beyond my means, just like so many others are doing now.  I have the benefit of experience and time on my side.  I have the lessons and the scars that came along with them.  Trust me when I tell you, at some point you should get this figured out for yourself, so why not sooner rather than later.  Learn from my errors and start planning for the future ASAP.  And yes, money does make life a lot easier and offers you options that are not available without it.  Go get paid, but be smart with the money that comes your way.  That’ll be the best flex in the long run.  Get that 401K going now and let the benefit of time and compound interest make you a millionaire by the time you’re sixty-five with only a $30,000 total investment between ages 22 and 30.  Yeah, do the research, it is absolutely doable if you get on that path now.  I missed out, and I am scrambling to make up for lost (compound interest) time.

At the end of the day, the real flex is to have the luxury and freedom to do whatever you want, with whomever you want, any time you want.  Forget the fancy cars and the poolside cabanas in Vegas, live a life of experiences and plan like you are going to live to 125, cuz you just might.

I wish you luck in your endeavors.

 

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