So nearly two months ago, I got a pretty awesome freelance opportunity plunked down in front of me. Reputable client, work I was digging on, and the potential for some sweet gravy on the budget. And while our budget isn’t hurting, who doesn’t salivate over a little gravy once in awhile?
I chewed on it for three days. Tried to brainstorm “solutions” for how I was going to fit in the work in addition to the rest of my life.
Of course, this opportunity came just after I had written this, so I was definitely feeling the heat of keeping up with all my shit already.
But, the choice seemed clear: I should definitely take the job. The money would be great, and I’m good at what I do, so I could easily make it work.
The choice seemed (also) clear: I should definitely not take the job. I had no business adding more stuff to my ever-expanding plate, even stuff I really like.
I’ll cut the suspense. I didn’t take the job.
I mourned the loss of an interesting freelance job (and the gravy) for a day or so. Or maybe a week. I spent that extra money in my head. A new car was involved, obviously. (But more on that later.)
Here’s where I’m going with this: choices sometimes suck, and you may or may not know if you’ve made the right one. I agonized over this one but ultimately I knew it was right because it was in line with the values and goals I was setting for myself:
Stop adding. Love my people. Work on myself. Focus on what’s here.
I also got a nice little karmic victory a week later when my boss sat me down and awarded me a promotion and a fat (phat?) raise…about the equivalent of what the freelance job I passed on might have been worth.
It’s nice when the universe sends us a neon sign telling us we’ve made the right choice.
But of course, that’s not always how it works.
Sometimes, we make a decision and second guess it. Sometimes, we have to make and stick to a decision over and over and over and over and over even though it makes us wonder if we’re really taking the right path.
Which brings me to this:
This is my car. My 10 year old, broken down, beat up, dented and dinged, dirty with cat paw prints, somewhat humiliating car.
Sometimes I call it the babysitter car, because it looks like something a college nanny would drive.
I can’t really blame my kids for throwing their trash all over it.
It’s been a good car for 10 years, got me where I needed to go, made 2 trips to Florida and back (or was it 3?) and I really loved it before it turned into a cringe-worthy piece of crap.
Much of what’s wrong with it could be fixed, creating a slightly more respectable form of transportation for me, if we didn’t keep saying we were going to get a new one “soon,” so might as well just leave it.
I could probably clean it a bit more often, but you know…I’m getting a new car “soon,” so what’s the point?
(I WILL get a new car this year. You know, soon.)
So why am I still driving around in the shame-mobile? Technically, we could afford a new car. Like any other family, we could afford lots of things, but not everything, so we make choices.
For the last couple of years, I have traded the excitement of getting a new car for a healthier lifestyle.
Working out at a reputable studio like Bodyology with amazing trainers costs money. Eating whole, unprocessed, mostly organic/nitrite-free/free range/grass-fed foods is not as cheap as Hamburger Helper from Walmart.
For the last year (almost exactly), our family has spent $350 a month on a fitness membership. By my calculations, that’s a monthly payment for a pretty sweet new ride.
When I think about that, sometimes it does make me second-guess this decision I keep making.
Maybe I could scale back my workout schedule and work out by myself a couple of times a week. (Yeah, THAT would happen.)
Maybe we don’t need to spend so much extra money on these fancy-schmancy “whole” foods. (Sure, great idea. Extra helpings of hormones, chemicals, and GMO’s, please!)
And when I really think about it, although I’m totally psyched to get a new car (soon, I swear) and not feel like a broke-ass 20-something everywhere I go, it’s also not nearly as important to me as our healthful lifestyle.
Choices show our character and indicate our values.
I’m not saying I’m suddenly proud to be driving my crappy old car or anything. I’m just saying that when I think of my ongoing car-shame as part of the price I pay to keep moving forward with my goals, I can keep on living with it.
(But seriously, not that much longer.)
So, what choices are you making, and what do they say about you?