The folly of frugality

I really tried to do it – I tried to embark on a major year-long writing project without owning a computer. 

fake computer

Why pay for a new piece of equipment, I reasoned, when I could use my iPad Mini and a Bluetooth keyboard? Never mind that I am a writer by trade and a new computer would be a tax deduction. Never mind that I had big ambitions for the year –starting with this website –and my plans required some powerful computing tools. I figured I could just get by with what I had, plus occasional use of my husband's laptop to manage photos and edit video. 

I felt pretty proud of myself as I sat at the kitchen table with my makeshift fake computer. I typed away in Pages, squinting a bit, but managing to rough out some ideas. My plan lasted about as long as it took me to sign up with a website provider. It turns out it's pretty near impossible to build a website without a computer. Suddenly logic flooded in. Wouldn't it be nice to finally have a computer of my own? If I was really serious about my work, shouldn't I have the right tools? And hey, if the whole point of my year-long project was to see how spending money changed my life, maybe I should start off by spending some money on a computer.

Here's the thing: I have a history of getting in my own way thanks to my so-called frugality. I put off going to a physiotherapist for years even though the repetitive strain in my hands threatened my ability to use a keyboard, and thus endangered my livelihood. I've skipped important networking events because I thought the tickets were too expensive. I've taken complicated 40 minute trips on buses and subways when I could have taken a 10 minute cab ride –  and I've arrived late, sweaty and flustered instead of on-time and serene. And, of course, I've gone three or four years now without a functional home computer. I've been, as they say in the U.K., "penny wise, pound foolish," except instead of wasting large sums of money, I've wasted opportunities to make money. 

I never chose "penny wise, pound foolish" as a mantra, but now I realize I've been living as if were my motto. It's time to get a new one, and here's what I'm trying out this week: 

 "You've got to give action to get action." 

Like it? What mantra have you been living by, intentionally or otherwise? What words would serve you better?