Good enough vs forever

There was a recent conversation thread on Bogleheads about travel bag recommendations.  A common phrase that came up was people willing to paying a hefty price for a bag that will “last a lifetime.”

Now I am all for paying a little extra for good quality stuff, but one thing I have noticed over the years is that many people have a deep desire to buy something that will last forever.  I think that’s unnecessary and a waste of a person’s mental energy.

Having a backpack that’s designed to last 150 years is not important to me.  First off, even with advances in medical technology, I’m not gonna live that long.  And second, I do not ever want to become so attached to a material object that it cripples me as I live my life.  I’ve been in this situation before and don’t want to ever go back there again.

If I pay $400 for a piece of luggage intended to last my entire lifetime, at some point I’m going to grow very attached to that item.  I will eventually think of it as an appendage.  And if I were to ever lose it, get it thieved, or drop it into a steaming pile of rhinoceros excrement, I’d probably be very upset.

Contrast that to the bag I have now.  It cost me 90 bucks, which is a fraction of the forever bag price.  I bought it about 5 years ago, and it’s still in perfect shape even though I carry it everywhere with me as my primary vacation pack.  My first cheap Jansport backpack I got in my early teens made it over 20 years before I tossed it, so I wouldn’t be surprised if my current one, which is much nicer, lasts longer than that.  But I don’t expect it to last forever, and it’s not important for it to last forever.  If someone steals it, no big deal either.  It’s a comfortable bag that fits me well, I use it often and hard, and when it dies I will not have any emotional reaction to tossing into the dumpster and replacing it with another one.

It’s just a bag, and it’s good enough.  Forever is not necessary.


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