I came to the 88rising concert yesterday with excitement. I had earned a free ticket for my role as an ambassador, and I also to have had an additional ticket that my friend had given me. I took one of my best friends with me. After getting off at Girard Station, I walked to the box office to collect my ticket. I exchanged a few words with the receptionist, only to be welcomed with, “Sorry, but your name isn’t on the list.”
It must be a mistake, I thought. I distinctly remember filling out the Google Form that detailed my name and contact information for the ticket, so it should be there. But it wasn’t. I stood in silence for a while, thinking about the various ways I could articulate my involvement without coming across as condescending or entitled. But, serving in a bureaucratic role myself, I understood that the receptionist had only been following the roles.
I thanked her for her time and proceeded to tell my friend that he should just go on in without me. He told me that I should just buy another ticket on the spot, but I found it very difficult to believe that I could enjoy the concert after having a negative experience so early into the night. He offered to split the cost with me for a $65 ticket. I told him it wasn’t necessary; I didn’t want to further emanate negative energy when I didn’t have to.
Then I thought about the nature of the situation. I was upset because I could only redeem one of the two free tickets I had to an expensive concert — a ticket most individuals had to pay for, with or without their parents’ money. I, on the other hand, occupied to privileges: 1. I never had to pay for my ticket, and 2. I could plausibly afford the ticket if I wanted to. Compared my other problems and other structural issues in society, what moral right did I have to be upset?
The nature of my loss had not been a loss of opportunity; I could have gotten into the concert — either for free or not — if I really wanted to. I realized that the nature of my disappointment had been none other than greed. I have the privilege to say that the $65 that I would spend to purchase a ticket at the door would not affect my consumption habit after this month, so why did default to unhappiness?
So I bought the ticket. I bought the ticket with my debit card filled with money that had not been used for food or rent or tuition. I bought the ticket with money that had not been used for necessities because I had the privilege to have my parents for my necessities. What right did I have to assign unhappiness to a problem that I created for myself, a problem that only existed within my own mind?
I texted my manager both during and after the concert hoping that I could get the cost of my ticket reimbursed. He said that my name was on the guest list even though the receptionist said that it had not and that he couldn’t reimburse my ticket because 88rising did not handle the ticketing directly. In the end, my inability to claim my free ticket had been because of a clerical error by someone I will never see again in my life.
Now, I am making the same choice; I could either choose to let frustration consume me, or I could accept the same limitations I have before. My negative emotions would only create stress for myself, and I had no outlet to channel them except through myself. Compared to the magnitude of problems that affect others and myself, I understood at that moment that these sentiments would pass.
Without affecting my consumption habits, there did not exist anything permanent about the fact that I made a swipe with my debit card that I did not have to make. I am making the choice to contextualize my feelings as a timeline and let my negative feelings flow through me. If not, I am choosing to not let unhappiness caused by greed to arise. Why should I be unhappy when I have so much to appreciate?