I’m probably what many people would call “frugal,” “thrifty” or just plain cheap. I watch my money closely. I rarely spend more than $20-30 a week at the grocery store, I drive a ’91 Honda Accord and just want to get from A-to-B. I’ve got about five shirts I wear regularly, three pairs of shorts, two pairs of jeans and one pair of shoes (plus some dress clothes for very rare occasions.) I’m also fairly “anti-consumerist” in my general philosophy of life.
Yet, when I recently spent about $200 on a pair of headphones I didn’t have a hard time justifying it to myself at all.
I justify it because I could afford them, and I’ve wanted a nice pair of headphones for nearly 15 years. But also I believe in celebrating the intangibles in life; reading, good music, appreciating fall leaves, a memorable walk — stuff that’s often free or cheap, but not something everyone necessarily appreciates. Any fool with enough money can buy a fancy car to impress people with. Me, I’d rather be able to appreciate a great symphony or a long classic novel. I think celebrating the intangibles and subtlety generally is a kind of gift. It’s the intangibles that make life rich and worth it to me. It’s that stuff that still makes me giddy.
On a side note, over the last seven years or so I’ve gotten away from classical music. These headphones are generally targeted to classical, so now I feel I’ve got a reason to commit myself to it again. I’m not sure why I’ve drifted away, I think it was because I moved to Atlanta and stopped driving as much, which was where I listened to music the most. I think depression had a hand in it — I discovered jazz was the best anti-depressant in the world (I’ve never tried others.) I still listen to classical on occasion and when I do I’m enthralled, but the classical I like (20th century era) is sometimes just a little too dark, too deep, and some of it has too many memories in it. In college I was obsessed with it. Some things in life are intangible, this, for me at least, is one of those things and I want it back. $200 is a small price to pay for that.