It’s not your fault. It’s easy to want a lot of things nowadays considering that new gadgets pop out every month. It’s also easy to frown on your current gadget and smile whenever you see that new shiny thing. And often, that smile turns to a frown when reality sinks in and you realize that you can’t have it for now.
I am from the generation that grew up knowing feature phones. The fascination started when I saw a classmate’s Nokia 5110, a beautiful device with colorful covers and a game of Snake. I wished I had one of those.
A year later I saw a friend whip out the new Nokia 3210. It’s sleeker than the 5110, and just like the last time, I wanted it, but never owned it.
It went on like that for a few years. Whenever I visit malls, I always frequent the gadget stores to check out the “dummy” units on display. Although it looks like a sad scenario, it actually wasn’t. I don’t remember feeling bad for not owning one. It was more on the pure fascination with technology.
I only got a phone later in college. It’s a hand-me-down, so it’s an older model. There were newer and more attractive models, but it was okay. I was just happy that I could call and send text messages.
“I feel bad for not having the latest. They say it is materialism or consumerism. Whatever it is, it doesn’t feel good.”
It was simpler back in the day since phones then mostly have the same basic features, so you won’t feel outdated easily. Nowadays, it’s difficult as more fancy features are being introduced and marketing campaigns become more creative. All you need to do is watch the new device’s ad on YouTube and you will find yourself wanting one as well.
Upgrade cycles become shorter, too. From the usual 2-year cycle, you’re now compelled to upgrade to a new one after just a year. Some brands even release upgraded models in just six months, leaving some users who just recently bought a new smartphone easily feeling left out.
It’s easy to fall into this trap, even for someone like me who reviews gadgets for a living. The barrage of new devices left me desensitized, killing my fascination for technology, and just left me wanting almost everything that is new. I feel bad seeing my 1-year old flagship stutter when it attempted to play a new and popular game. The grass is now always greener on the other side.
Image: Maynard Lumhod
And it’s not just with smartphones now. I feel the same way with my other devices — TV, laptop, gaming console, headphones, etc. I feel bad for not having the latest. They say it is materialism or consumerism. Whatever it is, it doesn’t feel good.
I guess not having the means to buy whatever latest gadget, cars, or appliances in the market has its perks. I decided to be more practical and practice delayed gratification. I mean, I can still upgrade to the latest, but only when necessary. Easier said than done, though.
That’s when I realized that the things that I’m using right now are actually doing okay. My phone still performs well on most tasks. My laptop, although not built for gaming, handles productivity tasks well. My gaming console can still play the games designed for it. And my TV? My internet is not that fast enough to stream 4K, so Full HD is still enough. Simply put, there’s nothing wrong with them.
They say that things become obsolete after a number of years. But I’d like to think that things become obsolete when you start demanding more from what you already have. This is not to say that you should not buy the latest gadgets or whatever you fancy. But rather to help you stop feeling bad for not having the latest. As long as it’s still working, you’re going to be okay.
While you’re reading this, a new smartphone has probably launched. You’re going to read and watch everything you can about it. Not just because you want it, but because of your appreciation of technology. And if ever you realize that you can’t have it, at least for the meantime, you will be able to tell yourself that it’s okay.