Pride is a funny thing. It is important to be proud of our accomplishments, to be able to appreciate our own skills and merits.. But pride can also have a negative connotation, and it can by its very nature conceal its existence. In other words, one can be too proud to admit that one is prideful.
Why do I bring this up? Well, I think that my current cell phone woes (which admittedly qualify as a “first world problem”) may be caught up in my pride and feelings of independence.
To fully understand this, we may have to go back a bit. I often feel that my growing independence as an adult has been piecemeal over a number of years. When I started college, I lived at home my first two years. I did move out on my own after my year in France, but if I hadn’t had the catalyst of studying abroad, it probably would have taken me longer to do so. Even while I was in France, I didn’t have to work; I drew a salary/allowance from the family business. I was also still on my parent’s car insurance plan for a while, and the only reason I’m not any more is because they would have had to have been on the title of my current car.
It doesn’t help that I’m one of the younger members of my social circle, and reminders of that fact can get uncomfortable. But I’ve come to feel quite independent. I’ve got a job, an apartment, a car, a girlfriend, all like a real boy! Save for one thing.
I’m still on my dad’s cell phone plan.
Now, when I was in grad school this was a great boon. I didn’t have a fancy phone, so I was able to pitch in $10 a month for my voice line while still enjoying the benefits and coverage of a major wireless network. On a grad student budget (read: poor), I couldn’t beat that deal without going to one of the prepaid, super-budget carriers. And even that was a stretch; with their more limited coverage and call time allotment, they looked like even less of a deal.
And that’s the reason I’ve stayed on the family plan: it’s just too good a deal to beat. Maybe I’ve become spoiled, maybe I’m just taking advantage of opportunities that have been put before me. I don’t know. I do know that limiting myself to a “feature” (read: dumb) phone felt like the lesser of evils, and the least likely to interfere with my feelings of independence. A twinge of guilt was still there, but I was mostly able to ignore it.
But my recent spat of phone issues (i.e., no functioning screen) has me thinking again. It wouldn’t make much sense for me to sign up for a two-year renewal contract just to get another basic phone; I don’t like the idea of limiting myself in that way. But I can’t really afford to set off on my own without some significant sacrifices in reliability. Plus, I fear change.
But what do I fear more? Change, or some abstract sense of “wounded pride,” that’s likely just a personal hangup I picked up from who knows where? I’ll be honest: probably change. And unless my dad feels like he’s being taken advantage of (which I doubt), there shouldn’t be an issue staying on his plan. And since I’ve just finished paying of a credit card, I’m starting to feel like I have money again.
I may have wandered off track a bit, but there it is. If I can get over whatever weird hangups I may have, this may be a good opportunity for me to upgrade in a way that saves me money, but without being a total handout. After all, what’s the difference who I’m paying as long as I am paying?
Definitely some food for thought. Should go well with the turkey later in the week.