Lately I have been thinking a lot about opportunity costs. Whenever we choose to do something, we are – by default – choosing NOT to do something else. We all start out with “open minds” and “wanting to keep our options open,” but over time, we see what doesn’t work for us, and we pare down our options accordingly.
For me the classic example is the mom of preschoolers who would love a night out with her partner, sans kids. But in real life, the mom (a.) has a quick meal out and gets back in time for the kids’ bath time, (b.) talks about the kids all evening (c.) stops by the mall and buys kids’ clothes and toys on the way to the evening’s event, or (d.) cancels, because one of the kids is whiny and might be coming down with a cold.
The mom will swear up and down that she really wanted a date night, but her actions show otherwise.
I was certainly that person. It’s one thing to look forward to an evening away from the kids, and another to deal with the feelings of actually doing it. There were times when my intentions and my actions didn’t match at all, regardless of what I said!
What we actually do is a weird combination of “must do,” “should do,” “want to do,” what we do automatically without thinking, responses to our feelings, and dealing with real or imagined emergencies. And every person in our household goes through the same process. It’s amazing that we get anything done at all!
I think it’s a good thing that I have some routines, and don’t have to think about them. For example, when my alarm clock goes off in the morning, I get up and get ready for work. Any given day, I could choose not to, but that would be against my self-interest. But if I dreaded work every single day, I would hope that growing voice would get through to me so I could take action. (Luckily I am not in that situation).
I bet I’m not supposing too much to think that many of my readers are quite dutiful, and will do a great many of the things we say we’ll do. Particularly since, as bloggers, we are making ourselves publicly accountable!
But if you told us you were going to spend all day today painting the bathroom, and in fact, you spent the afternoon eating brownies and napping, we’re OK with that – to a point! It’s only if you establish yourself as entirely contradictory that we’ll start wondering about you. For example, if you are a personal finance blogger, you post your spending weekly, and you try to be as frugal as possible; it seems you “owe” your readers an explanation if you go completely off the rails! Either that, or your blog will change direction!
As you might guess, one thing I’m very aware of is how my “tracking” activities affect Rom and other people close to me. I actually think of my ongoing projects as a hobby, and, believe it or not, they don’t overtake my life. If I have a choice between inventorying my pantry, or watching cute corgi videos on YouTube (one of Rom’s hobbies!), I always make time for Lance the Corgi!
On that note, this will be a short post because I am having, ahem, an early night 🙂