The Breakdown

I run my life by the breakdown.

If I need a new pair of shoes, well, I need a new pair of shoes. Can’t not have shoes, right? But how much will I spend for what I’ll get? First of all, I’m not a shoe person. I have no fetish, no style, no use for excessive collecting. I buy for function. That said, will I get $50 worth out of this pair? If I wear them twice, that’s $25 a wear. But if I wear them fifty times, that’s only a dollar per. If I wear them every day– will they last long enough to cost me only a nickel a day? That’s a little over two and a half years.

Gadgets are the same. I was appalled (and ecstatic) the Christmas I opened the present to find an iPad beneath the pair of socks. An iPad! Do you know how much those cost?! That was the first generation, a giant splurge in 2010. I have used (played) with that object every single day, several times a day, for over five years. It would totally be worth it by the breakdown if not for factoring in time wasted.

Indulgences count, too. One brownie is about four bites of joy. But making brownies from scratch allows for batter sampling, bowl licking, and brownie biting. Therefore, I can’t buy a brownie, but I can bake ’em!

You know I like to read. Since I only read a book once, there are other factors to consider in the breakdown when purchasing a new one. Enjoyment is key. If I like a book (love it!), then absolutely the $19.95 sticker price was worth it. Contrary to previous breakdown examples, an exciting read that only takes me four hours is worth much more than the dragging will-this-ever-end tome that takes four weeks to slog through.

And music, sweet music. In the beginning, 99 cents a song on iTunes seemed outrageous. Now they’re up to $1.29! But if I really like a song, I know I will listen to it a lot. Maybe even a hundred and twenty-nine times. That’s a penny a listen! A penny! (I sound like an ad for Columbia House Record & Tape Club. Remember Columbia House? Wow, you must be old.)

I apply the breakdown to my time as well.

Is this project worth my time? I mean, will I get my time’s worth out of this project?
Does the value of this pursuit break down economically? Will, say, an hour’s investment pay off with two hours of enjoyment? Will my commitment benefit more than just me?

Word of Art 2 was such a project. And totally worth it. What we put in, came back twentyfold to many more than just the Word of Art team. Quite the investment.

How do you handle purchases and commitments? Do you feel the need to justify a breakdown?




About Mary Fran Says

I am an artist, crafter, designer and writer. I enjoy working with mixed media-- applying visual and tactile manipulations to telling a story. Not a lot of market for that, though, :), so I'm focusing on short story submissions and novel completions. Yes, plural. Lots of beginnings, too many ideas, not enough focus.
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2 Responses to The Breakdown

  1. Pingback: Welcome to my head. | Mary Lamphere

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