Goodbye new camera, farewell youth

Last week I bought a Canon 7D – a marvel of a pro-am SLR camera and one that I really wanted to purchase since its release. It offers better picture quality than my current camera and shoots high quality HD video. And not your average HD video either. TV shows have been filmed with this camera. It’s serious like that. It also came with a serious price, which is why I decided this week - after a good trial with it in Chelan over the weekend - that I should return it.

The problem isn’t that I can’t afford the camera, it’s that I can’t afford the camera AND the fence that I have to build this summer AND the new front door that I need to buy and install sooner than later. I’m not exaggerating about the urgency of these home fixes. My fence is literally falling over and looks like broken teeth. I can feel a breeze through my window-less, solid wood front door.

The camera, on the other hand, can wait. I have a camera that works fine, but I just wanted the next best thing that takes superkillersweet video. It’s the same feeling I had before I purchased the Macbook Pro or my current camera or those two external hard drives on Black Friday. The geek needs to be fed.

What really strikes me as different and (gasp!) mature about this camera decision is that I’m prioritizing and seeing necessities over shiny objects. Before today, if I had needed to pay for a major dental procedure or fix my car, I would have most definitely bought and kept the camera, rationalizing that I needed to document those serious circumstances at the highest fidelity – not for me but for future generations so that they could understand where they came from. I’ve always been thoughtful about the future of America like that.

This fundamental reprioritization is monumental. Like the previous sentence crammed a lot of syllables into few words, I suddenly feel like I need to pack my many, growing financial responsibilities into neat, manageable categories. For now “Saving for camera” isn’t one of them.

With that, some rebellious, spontaneous part of my youth must have died. No amount of clapping brings that back. I don’t know if it’s the copious amounts of wine that replaced PBR or a job where I work with grown-up adults, but part of me that “invested” in baseball cards and CDs and spent thousands of dollars with a Best Buy discount in college has been laid to rest like Ken Griffey Jr.’s baseball career – without much celebration and far too late.