I went to an overnight retreat last weekend with a bunch of other moms from the weekly mom’s group that I attend. 24 hours away from the daily grind. Indulgent snacks, board games, laughter, and good ol’ chatting with no interruptions from the little people in our lives. It was lovely, as you can imagine. My hubby held down the fort with the kiddos, and when I got home Sunday evening, they weren’t there. (I later found out that they’d gone mother’s day shopping in the city).
I debated whether I should worry and fret (no note! and I had his cell with me! sheesh!), or just grab my laptop and a cup of tea and relax. I logged on to Facebook and checked out the latest in our local community’s swap and buy group.
My eyes nearly bugged out of my head.
Hubs had posted his iPhone for sale the night before, and was in the midst of negotiations with the interested parties.
What the WHAT?!
You have to understand – this is the man that was taking computers apart and putting them back together again for fun at the age of twelve. The same man who had several years of a career as a professional sound guy, pushing buttons and playing with technology to his heart’s content. The very same man that now flies airplanes for a living and is totally geeked out by the cool technology in the cockpit.
Rewind to about a week ago when we were chatting about what I might like for the upcoming mother’s day celebration. I told him that I just wanted to sleep in, have a special breakfast, then a general day of relaxing family time, maybe not have to cook at all – that kind of thing. He told me that he really wanted to get me a special gift.
Me: “what is it?”
Him: “I can’t tell you!”
Me: “Is it expensive?”
Him: tries to lie but sucks badly “Noooo…”
Me: (rolling my eyes but feeling loved knowing that his love language is “gifts” in a major way…) “Oh dear. What is it? You know we have no extra money at all right now”
Him: “I can’t tell you!”
Me: “Just tell me how much it costs and I’ll tell you if we can do it”
Him: “umm, like $200”
Me: (freaking out) “Honey! That’s sweet… but you know we can’t possibly afford that!”
Him: “Yeah. But I have a plan”.
Me: “Uh oh.”
(PS. I totally guessed correctly what it was and because he’s a really terrible liar he admitted the truth. It was cute.)
Back to present-day and the iPhone sale… I couldn’t believe he was actually doing it. He was selling his iPhone for two reasons: first – to save us money in our monthly budget, and second – to be able to buy me an iPod touch – something I’d mentioned that I wanted for my birthday in a couple of months so that I had a little pocket camera, etc. but without the monthly fees of an iPhone.
So, with 2.5 years left on the contract (that was taken over by the buyer) we will save ourselves $1,200, plus $100 for the sale of the phone. He will be getting himself a cheap cell phone, mainly for emergencies or when he’s not around a phone – maybe a pay-as-you go kind or whatever happens to be cheapest.
I am seriously touched by his thoughtfulness, and still a bit floored at how he chose to express it this time.
We are really starting to question the things we think we need. The ways we live our lives and the choices we make in our spending. Was the iPhone nice? Sure it was. I enjoyed web surfing on long car rides and never getting lost thanks to the built-in GPS and google map search. I loved being able to talk to him pretty much whenever. But was it really needed? Was it worth the monthly charges and strain on our budget? Not really.
Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in the belief that we “need” certain things to be happy. This doesn’t just apply to the stereotypical “rich folks”. It also applies to me thinking that my life is somehow less complete when my house is not perfectly decorated, pinterest-style. Or when I doubt and question whether I could be happy in a 2-bedroom apartment as a family of five. Or when I pout a little over giving up the iPhone because then whatever will I do with the hour-long car ride to the city? Talk to my husband? Read a book? Crochet? Scandalous, I know.
I know, I know, lots of people in our society live without a smartphone and they survive just fine. This really is a sob story of a privileged first-worlder. But to me the iPhone has been symbolic. What else are holding on to in our lives that may not be the wisest thing for us? One day when hubby has moved beyond entry-level aviation and we can afford it again, maybe we’ll be an iPhone family again. Who knows?
One thing is for sure though – we want to live with our possessions held loosely and our loved ones held tight. We want to be a family that values relationships and wise living. A family that models counter-cultural choices to our kids.
For us, it was by saying farewell to the pretty little iPhone.
What might it be for you?