We Can't Be Happy Comparing Ourselves To Others

It’s ok to want nice “things.”  Sure what’s truly important is the ppl in our lives. But when it comes to “things” most of us can name at least one or two items (or if we’re lucky, maybe more) we’ve worked hard to buy on our own, that we cherish.
This is a picture of my prized possession from my childhood. You can tell hilariously by the size of the thick glass case I dolled out an extra $4.95 for at the time, that this baseball card meant at lot to me. And there is a story behind it!
It was 1992, & being enrolled in Jr. High School, baseball cards were all the rage among my friends.  We’d go to card shows on wknds, w our parents alternating who would drive us & who would pick us up. That was our exciting social lives at the time!  So it’s therefore not surprising that – when a cards & collectibles store opened just down the block from our school – “First And Third” – it became THE place to visit almost every day after school/practice was over.
When we’d travel to a card show on wknds, we’d get a chance to purchase packs for between $1 & $5 (within budget for a 12/13 yr old). You’d see some nicer more “valuable” cards from packs from previous years on display…but at the time, few dealers traveled arnd to shows carrying their most expensive cards.
On the contrary, First And Third, a brick & mortar location, had a number of incredible cards & sports memorabilia decorating its store. Two among them were a 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan rookie card, & what you see here, a 1984 Fleer Update Kirby Puckett rookie card.
I don’t need to tell most ppl who MJ is/was. But Puckett was one of my idols. He was the spark-plug center fielder who would leap all over the field & even on the walls to catch a ball. He had a heart much bigger than his stature 5’-8”, & bc of the passion w which he played, the ball would literally jump off of his bat when he would swing.
At the time of this story (‘92), the MJ card was $320, & the Puckett $190.  Those were astronomical amounts for a 7th – 8th grader…but like you see in any movie, it didn’t stop my friends & I from going by the store frequently, & dreaming.
Any money we had at the time, was based on two jobs we didn’t need to interview for – 1) shoveling snow in the winter (knocking door-to-door to see who would pay us $20 combined for an hour of back-breaking work), and 2) washing cars in the summer (once again knocking door-to-door for customers).
The winter weather of ‘91 going into ‘92 was favorable for us young “entrepreneurs” & so I was fortunate that I’d saved up a good amount, & had my eyes locked on that Puckett. $190 was way more than I’d ever spent on anything in my life. My parents thought I was “crazy” to spend that amount on “just a piece of cardboard.” But, there was sentimental value to it for me. I loved the type of player Puckett was, what he stood for, & even if I wanted the “best basketball player in the world,” MJ – there was no way I could afford another $130, all the way up to $320 for his card.
Well, my two best friends – whether on their own accord, or help from parents, each bought an MJ rookie card. I shelled out out $190 ($194.95 to be exact, w the big case 😉, for the Puckett).
It’s now some 25+ years later. As far as an investment goes, the MJ rookie is worth many thousands of dollars. On the other hand, although I named my first dog Kirby, my Kirby Puckett card – I’d be lucky to make my $190 back on. The good news is – I never will sell it. And when I have kids, they’ll get the card.  And I have zero animosity towards my friends who could afford the MJ rookie when I couldn’t & now as a result are sitting on a mini fortune.
What that card means to me – how I earned it w my own work…how that was my favorite player bc he stood for the right things when he played…& how I thought to protect it with that big geeky case – is worth more than any dollar amount another card could have brought me.
When we’re looking at what others have & comparing to what we have (seeing them online or in real life), the “value” we place on things shouldn’t be based on dollar signs. It should be based on the story, & the intrinsic value of what they mean to us. If the dollar value of something is what’s most important, we’ll keep trying to one up not just our friends, but ourselves, earning/buying the next most expensive thing – without end. If however, the value comes from the story, the lesson, the pride to YOU & you alone, that comes when you look back at that possession, then it’ll be just enough, & you won’t long for anything more!

Scroll to Top