I’ve always been in the computer industry and therefore, naturally, have always been somewhat of a ‘techie’. I always knew what gadgets were out, what was coming next, and was always about getting the latest and greatest ‘toys’.
But, I realized that I’m not that much of a techie anymore.
The First Signs of Techie Withdrawal
When I was in college, I always dreamed of building the perfect computer. I subscribed to PC Magazine, which for those not familiar, was a monthly or bi-monthly magazine that in it’s hayday was huge. It was probably 400-500 pages, mostly advertising, and the pages were huge. I would flip through that regularly and ‘put together’ the perfect model. The motherboard, the memory, the hard drive, the monitor. I knew exactly what I wanted.
I never got that perfect computer, but even at that time I started (in the back of my mind) to realize that what I wanted the month before was now a little bit cheaper and now not as ‘cool’.
I started to get it. You could wait and get something cheaper and/or better. What a novel idea!
Once I graduated, I wasn’t as willing to hold back. Probably the fact that I actually had the money to buy stuff had something to do with it, but I was pretty into a lot of the gadgets after school. I was the first one of my friends to buy a TV over 30 inches. I bought a DVD player when Best Buy had one aisle of DVDs, and paid over $300 for the pleasure of doing so. I bought one of the original XBox machines for full retail price, which I’m pretty sure was $350.
But it was all cool.
It was all cool until I realized that just a few short months after those purchases, the DVD player that I bought was half the price, and the XBox was $100 less money. Yikes!
I think around this point I started to remember that if you wait, you get it better and cheaper.
The Computer Lesson
Where I really learned my lesson was with computers. Since I have always worked with computers and have made my career from doing so, this is the one area that I always loved to be on the cutting edge for.
I bought a couple of computers within graduating college. I always loved how cool they looked, how fast they were and what the capabilities were. I never got the biggest or the best, but it was always good enough and was right up there with the current standards.
Then, the inevitable happened as it always does with computers.
The newer ones kept getting faster. And mine kept getting slower.
It seems all computers are designed to slow down over time. They run fast for about a week, then slowly they churn a little slower and a little slower. Every piece of software you install makes it creep along just a bit slower. Every update or security patch makes it apparent that computers can never come with enough memory, even though you seem to recall thinking it was more than you could ever need when you bought it.
Eventually, the computer gets so slow that you start to wonder if it has a crank you can turn to speed it along.
Once all this started hitting me, I realized that buying computers and other gadgets aren’t as important, because the ’shine’ of having the latest gizmo only lasts for as long as it takes for the manufacturer to come out with the newer model. I still buy electronics, but more from function. I still plan on buying a flat screen TV at some point, but more when the current TV (still the one from right after college, by the way) finally gives out.
But, holding back lets me save money and lets me think about the purchases, versus buying on impulse which can so often guide purchases of ‘toys’.
I’m glad I have slowed it down because otherwise I’d probably have a pile that looks something like this: