Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Snake is Ready to Bite...

and before it does I need to get my shit together. This is what I woke up thinking this morning, not quite in those terms but I woke at 7am with a decidedly unsettled feeling that I've had for a few days thinking, "I have to get my debt under control or I'm going down."

I will not share with you the amount of my debt but I will share that while I've been saying for quite some time that most of it is from maintaining my life - car repairs, house crap like broken dishwashers and washing machines - in truth, most of my debt is from having fun. It's true. I like to go places, see things, run 5K's and 1/2 marathons, fly to my 25th high school reunion in Michigan and do a 5K while there, spend Christmas away from Fort Collins, travel to see a band in New Orleans, give to multiple charities, buy new Dansko and running shoes (at at least $100 a pair), buy more pairs of black pants than any woman should own, spend about $15 a week on iTunes (really?!), etc. You get the idea. I have a fun, fulfilling, awesome life and I spend a lot of money to have it that way - a lot of 'money' that is in the form of a little plastic card. I do spend money on my house and car, the car more than the house of late, but if I'm being truthful with myself, I spend my money on fun.

I'm turning 44 in a couple of months and then about a year after that I'll be turning 45. As a 45th birthday gift to myself I want to travel to Italy to ride my bike for a couple of weeks, see the Giro d'italia and have some fantastic adventures. It hit me this morning while sitting in church that I will not be able to do this unless I get rid of most of my debt. So, in order to have future fun I will be discontinuing current fun for one year.

This is certainly more of 'deal' to me than not buying anything new for a year. I can already see myself saying 'no' to stuff and not liking it one bit. I will get to see just how awesome my life is while doing without what I think is fun. I'm always up for a challenge and if I can do this I will be duly rewarded. Not only day-to-day but with a fabulous trip to Italy. Talk about delayed gratification.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Lifestyle Center Friday Night and an Advertising Epiphany

It was bound to happen, especially since I dissed the whole Lifestyle Center concept in my last post. I found myself enjoying good company, supporting a great cause, AND buying used items at, yes, you guessed it, a freakin' Lifestyle Center. And on a Friday night nonetheless.
I went to a preview party for a tag sale fundraiser for the local Junior League with a few friends. It was held in a shelled out space at the very same Lifestyle Center I referred to in my last post. I ended up with some good bargains, chatted with friends and at the end of the evening found myself rocking out to "Don't Stop Believing" by an 80's cover band. Not only dancing and having a blast but belting out all the words to the ubiquitous Journey song from my youth. Sidenote - why are those guys still touring? I hear that damn song more than I did when it was new. God, isn't there anything better to play on the radio these days? Anyway, while I was dancing in the middle of the Lifestyle Center, I realized I a Lifestyle Center. I briefly felt like I was on an episode of Weeds without the pot.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a great film named Art & Copy. If you have any interest in advertising, design, logos, Mad Men, or words in general, this movie is worth a watch. I never wanted to end up like Herb Tarlek, selling cars or, my worst nightmare, vacuums or mattresses. As much as I fought being a salesperson, that is really what I am. I've had two fairly direct sales jobs where I sold newspaper advertising. I had a hard time finding social value in selling an ad so I clung to the ad development as something noble in itself. When freedom was allowed I could work with a great designer and sometimes come up with something decent that I didn't hate.

While at my first ad job I found a quote that I still have stuck on the same sticky note on my fridge, "People read what's interesting, and sometimes it's an ad." This film helped reaffirm this notion for me. Remember the cool as hell VW ads from the 60's? Some of the Nike ads are simply brilliant whether or not you buy their shoes. I have one of their ads featuring Marilyn Monroe, again on my fridge, and it does make me feel good to be a girl.

While I clearly have issues with our consumer culture and that we're bombarded with advertising messages from the minute we open our eyes in the morning, if I think of these ads as someone's ideas as opposed to 'the man' trying to overtake my life and make me buy something I don't need, I feel a lot better about advertising in general. Because really, all of the ads are someone just trying to sell us on their idea, trying to get us as excited as they are about it. Sometimes they write an interesting ad for their idea and sometimes they don't but either way, the person's idea is behind it. Vacuum and mattress ads excluded, of course.