Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Friday, December 1, 2006

Setting New Standards and Precedents

This morning at work was eventful as I yet again moved into a new office! Unfortunately this may be only for a few months as I may be moving into the new building currently under construction. Here I am content, though slightly disappointed that I don't have a window. I was pondering this yesterday and it got me thinking about my standards.

When I first started here, I had a ground floor office with a window which I was in for a couple of months. This immediately set a precedent where now, every office I get, I am comparing to the first one I had which had a nice window. This is slightly problematic because in reality, I should be thankful that I even have any office because most people at my age, 23, are in cubicles. Similarly, its interesting how often our standards change with everything.

For example. My first year in college, the bus, my feet, and bumming rides were my main transportation. Second year, it was my bicycle. Third and fourth year, it was my moped. Everytime I would go back to Alaska to visit my folks though, I was so happy to be able to drive around my little '88 Chevy Nova. These days though, I drive around a new Toyota so when I go back to Alaska, I almost dread having to drive the Nova around and worry about it possibly breaking down.

I could go on and on about how many other things this restandardization applies to (housing, clothing, girlfriends/boyfriends etc.) In fact, my roommate just got back from a hard earned Hawaiian vacation in which he took his girlfriend. My only warning to him was to be careful about the precedent you're setting by taking the new gf on such a nice trip on a whim because she might then expect something even better for an actual special ocassion because her standards of your treats are now raised.

Its no wonder some rich people come off as snobby. Their standards have slowly raised so high that anything less than designer doesn't suffice! If you sit in your house and watch a plasma everyday, a standard CRT television seems like garbage. The minute anything in your life is upgraded (or downgraded for that matter) a precedent is set and our standards change.

So what's the moral? Well for me, its to definitely appreciate the nice things I'm fortunate to have and resist the temptations to compare what I have now, to what I had before. In the end, material standards are pretty shallow. Window or no window, I love my office!


Darren said...

I think this article has an interesting parallel with the article you wrote on money and happiness. Money allows us the opportunity to obtain the things we want, which can make us happy in the short term. With this money we climb the latter of material possession. As we climb higher we are increasingly dissatisfied with more and more experiences in life. It's as if money is leading us away from the things that once made us happy, and in the long term leaves us in a state of mind that is further from true happiness.

Arun said...

You're right Darren. This is why I think it is important to resist comparisons to previous fortune or wealth. It forces you to appreciate what you have and be happy regardless of what you may or may not have possessed before.

Timothy said...

There are the things that we can't change, like our office (I'm on my third office in 5 months. Soon to be at least one more, maybe two depending on the construction schedule). I really liked that in my last two offices I faced the door, so I could be doing things like responding to blogs and people would think I was working ;) But I can't go back, and I just need to accept that nobody really cares if I'm responding to a blog at work... I mean, now I need to work hard 'cause people are watching me... yeah. I think it's important to appreciate the nice things you have. It doesn't mean I refuse to drive with people whose cars aren't as nice as mine, but I'm grateful every day that I have a heater/AC in my new car, 'cause my old car didn't. I guess it's a matter of looking at it in a different way. Look at what you have and appreciate it, rather than thinking about what you had and being sad about it.