$1500 Luxury

I’ve got some expensive habits.   Not like Charlie Sheen snorting $2500 of blow of a hooker’s boobs, but still expensive.

Charlie Sheen in March 2009

Charlie Sheen in March 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My latest one is dancing lessons.  Linda surprised me on one of weekly date nights a few months ago.  She found a Groupon for the dancing studio we used before we got married.  It was $69 for a month of unlimited group lessons.

When the month was up, we signed on for their beginner cycle of lessons, which cost another $400.

And now we’re starting the Social Foundation program.

Social Foundation is a series of classes that teach some advanced moves, but also to teach dancers how to lead and follow properly and how to dance socially and look respectable on a dance floor in any number of situations.   Leading and following are important because every single dance move out there has specific cues that tell your partner what’s coming next.  If she doesn’t know, you both look clumsy.

So we chose the four dances we’re going to learn better and signed up.   We’re going to learn the Rumba, Waltz, Tango, and Swing.  We’re already pretty good at Rumba and Swing, but we’re going to get better.  Personally, I’m hoping to also figure out how to use the Tango on an open dance floor without crashing into people.  That way, we can pretend to be Gomez and Morticia, my heroes.

Now, the thing is, dance lessons aren’t cheap.  They cost about $100 per hour, where an hour is defined as 45 minutes.   We’re rolling the last half of our beginner lessons into our social foundation lessons and paying $1400.

Ouch.

They gave us the option of financing it over 3-4 months, but I didn’t want to pay an extra $200 for the privilege.   I think we’ll be tapping the vacation fund to pay for the lessons.

Why am I willing to pay this much?

Dancing is one of the very few things Linda and I both enjoy.  We’re pretty good at it, it’s great exercise, it’s fun, and (shhh!) it counts as foreplay.  It also doesn’t hurt to have the sidelines of the dance floor lined with people watching us dance, wishing they could do what we’re doing…or wishing their husbands were willing to learn how to dance.   This also isn’t just something we’re doing at the studio.  We are out on a dance floor dancing to a live band almost every week.  That usually comes with about $25 in cover charges and drinks.

Fun, exercise, have sex, and inspire jealousy.  That’s a winning combination.  And finding things to do that we both love to do is difficult and easily worth the $2000 we’ve paid the dance studio this year.

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You’re Gonna Die, Part 1

Death of a surrealist soldier

Image by funadium via Flickr

If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today? How would you spend your last hours?  Would you go skydiving before the chance evaporated forever, or would you spend the day talking with your loved ones?

If you knew you would die in a month, what would you do?  Would you plan a trip to the one place in the world you’ve always wanted to see?  Would you look up all the friends you’ve been too busy to see?

What would you regret?  Is there something you have always wished you’d done, but have put off for some reason or another?  Do you want to write a novel, or backpack Europe, or watch a shuttle launch?   Far more people regret opportunities missed than those they’ve taken.  If there is something that you could do that would let you die happy, take steps today to make that a reality.  Remember that you are probably not going to die in a day or a month, but don’t let your entire life slip away without doing the things that matter most to you.

Our lives are short.  Far too short to waste time on the things that add no value.  Everything you do should advance your happiness, either short-term or long.  That doesn’t mean you should waste your life pursuing hedonism.  Lives need meaning.  Chase that meaning.

Find out what gives your life meaning.  What do you do that lets you go to bed with a smile on your face?  Those are the activities that you should maximize.  What is wasting your time?  You can probably shut off the news and never miss it.   It’s just too much information that doesn’t add anything to your life.   Does obsessing over Charlie Sheen’s latest antics ad any value to your life?   Take that time and write a screenplay, take a walk, smell a flower, hug your kids, anything that provides actual value for you.  Don’t waste your life on meaningless activities that do nothing more than kill time.  Time is the one thing we have that we will not get back.

Many people go to their deathbeds thinking, “I wish I had X.”  What is your X?  What would you wish you had done?

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