Let’s be realistic. Seriously.

Well, it’s yet another wake-up call to myself to write a post that is actually of some substance rather than a bunch of crap on stuff I bought.

I’ve decided to present you all with splash of text to wade through. It’s food for thought, but it will probably fill your mind up with more questions than answers. Is that a good or bad thing? I’m not really sure, but I guess it’s about time to think about these things, especially if it concerns life.

Recently (or rather, ever since I started to work) I’ve been exposed to a variety of amusing, frustrating or shocking experiences – and with this comes a lot of passive absorption of other people’s lives. I’ve been immersed in an environment where the girls I know are in either stable relationships or marriages and with steady incomes – a lot of the customers (and people I have met) could have the same description applied to them. There are also instances where there are customers who come in and ask why a Casio Baby-G is so expensive, when I’ve never actually heard of anyone use the word “expensive” to describe them before in my life.

Looking at various types of families and speculating about people’s lifestyles makes me wonder what exactly a “standard household” is. What is it, exactly?

More importantly, what do we expect to receive or achieve in life – what is enough, and what isn’t enough?

For instance, since the majority of people who read this blog are presumably (like myself) female, what standards do you have for a wedding band or an engagement ring?

We’ve had customers come in asking for $500 engagement rings (by “Western” standards, this is the definition of a single solitaire diamond on an 18K gold or platinum setting – but don’t get me started complaining about platinum, it barely exists these days), or even a budget of $100 for a PAIR of couple rings. My colleagues demand very firmly that they won’t accept a marriage proposal unless their engagement ring is one carat or above, with specifications like D colour, VS1/2 and a triple excellent cut.

You don’t need to understand diamonds or jewellery in depth like I do to basically get the gist of what I’m saying – basically there are people who are content with a $50 silver ring, and there are others who won’t even budge unless you present to them a $15,000 engagement ring.

My question now is – is it ridiculous to be expecting a marriage proposal that is over $10,000? I’m not saying wanting, I’m saying expecting – there’s a difference between the two, and well, expectations are clearly either met or not met. Is it perfectly normal to be expecting a one carat diamond or above?

Sometimes I just find that some expectations aren’t really quite as realistic as they should or could be. I’m not saying that they won’t eventuate, because I’m sure with a good income and a stable lifestyle with little problems along the way could easily lead to the one carat ring without much effort. But not everyone fits into that category; there are some families who are so well off that their lifestyle and what they own is unimaginable – then there are some who find it hard to pay off their credit bills, have little savings, and barely own things that are traditionally thought to be valuable (by this I mean things like gold, Swiss-made watches – some designer goods – stuff like that).

The expectations are quite a serious issue, I think, because if you’re a guy and you intend to give your future wife a one carat diamond (which, by the way, apparently is known to be standard in terms of diamonds used for engagement – fear not though, if that’s not within your budget, anything over 0.75ct is fairly standard as well), you might need to start saving up pretty hard for it… now. Really. If you have to pay for things like a car, rent, a social life, bills, bits here and there – you WILL find it harder to save up for a diamond. Especially with the prices going up, the “standard” of $10,000 will soon be $15,000 probably by mid 2012 at this rate. In fact, $10,000 probably isn’t even standard any more considering that can only get you a D/SI1.

I admit – I’ve considered buying a diamond NOW just for personal use because I know the prices are going to continually rise. I’ve dispelled that idea for the meantime though, because I can’t afford it (unless if it’s a smaller one – gg dude I cannot freaking afford a one carat diamond – same goes to how I can’t afford a Hermés bag – they cost around the same price anyway) and I’m simply not particularly interested in diamonds. Don’t get me wrong, I work with them almost every day and I really do like diamonds – A LOT – but it doesn’t motivate me enough to take out money to actually buy them, considering I’m still young and I’m more interested in items to do with fashion rather than accessories… that and I’ve made a pact with my colleague to save up for a particular number by the end of the year, meaning that probably 97% of my income is going straight into my savings. Whatever I’ve got left over is for bills, transport, the random social expense and I’ve left a pretty tight budget for a present for my mum and a Christmas present for myself. And that’s literally all the room I have.

For someone like me (literally zero financial burden, but with a very limited income), I find it difficult to even consider a diamond, let alone the other people out there. If I think I can’t even afford it, how can I possibly expect to receive something of that value from someone? I’m not really sure how I’m supposed to react or what exactly I should be expecting as such.

Of course, there are lots of people out there who can easily afford them. The richest person I know scoffs at the idea of one carat because he thinks it’s small. We have customers coming in to ask about buying diamonds and putting them aside, presumably for their children later on when they need to propose. Our society is a mix of the crazy and maybe not so crazy – as for which is which, I can’t even distinguish myself.

It’s not only just monetary related expectations, of course. I think there are other expectations that really need to take a second thought – expectations of other people, what a job is like and what life should be like. I’m sure everyone dreams of a perfect husband or wife and a wonderful job with a really awesome boss. Realistically speaking, nobody’s perfect and there will be hardships along the way – it just depends on the degree of hardship and what they concern.

I’m not sure if what I’ve just written is burdensome to readers or not, but I guess it’s just something to think about. From what I’ve gathered in the past few months I’ve seen the best of the best and some of the worst. My advice is to not really have high expectations, or at least set them realistically. I’ve seen what it’s like to have a ridiculously rich lifestyle and to be honest, I did imagine and dream about what I could do if I were to indulge in such a lifestyle – being realistic however, I know that it’s already an honour to have a peek into what that lifestyle is like. If I by chance do get to have a lifestyle like that, that would really be a blessing and accumulated karma from several past lives LOL. But for the way I am now, I’m already content, because I know that I wouldn’t even compare to something like that. Then again, nothing is comparable because everything has its own joy in itself. I have my own joys in my current lifestyle, as tight as it is.

So what are “standards” and what do you expect later on in life? What is realistic, and what is pushing it?

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