Upon being so excited about my birthday gifts — a Macbook Air from my parents and a pair of baby blue, suede Ferragamo shoes from my girlfriend — and realizing that come their birthdays, I’ll be in serious debt, I began wondering why we’re so materialistically obsessed. Go to any law school and ask a few students why they're studying law.
Someone’s bound to tell you "Because I want to drive a Maserati by the time I'm 32." Well, I do too, But at what point does prioritizing your material possessions become over-the-top?
If you're good at what you do and you work hard to improve constantly, you'll be successful. If you're successful and you love what you do, you’ll take pride in showing off the fruits of your labor. It doesn't matter if success implies a six-figure salary or just enough to get by; what matters is that most people want to show off that they love what they do. In many cases, the best way to show off is with your material possessions.
If one of these law students happens to become a great lawyer who makes a mark in world of law, drives a Maserati by age 32 and has a closet full of Ferragamo shoes, I would respect the person. If a person who does good work wants to capitalize on his or her accomplishments with material possessions, there’s no problem.
My problem is mostly with the materialistic people who take pride in everything that was given to them. There is no reason to be proud if daddy gives you a brand new BMW for your 16th birthday. You haven't accomplished anything to deserve it and a gift like this only conveys entitlement, not accomplishment.
If you're good at what you do, be proud. Live lavishly and be extravagant. Most importantly, do it to remind of yourself of the hard work you did to get to where you are. It’s respectable; wear the Rolex you got for a graduation present if you triple-majored and spent sleepless nights in the library to secure a good job after graduation.
Wear the baby blue Ferragamos for being a good boyfriend and rock that David Yurman ring you’ve been saving up to buy since you started bartending. Dedication, priorities, values and sacrifice are all things of which to be proud. But don't walk around in your new Tory Burch flats, flaunting the keys to your new Benz when all you had to do to get it was text Mom and Dad and ask them to wire money into your debit account.
Take pride in your material possessions, but make sure you earn them first.
Photo via RKOI