Well, how did I get here? (Opportunity Cost Theorem Revisited)

Thank you, Talking Heads. Maybe "Once in a Lifetime" is simply a mid-life anthem standard, and I missed the memo. But my 41 yo self has just taken a hard look at lyrics I remember singing, unseatbelted, in the back of my mother's old-school Toyota Celica:

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself...Well, how did I get here?

Letting the days go by. Let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by. Water flowing underground
Into the blue again. After the money's gone
Once in a lifetime. Water flowing underground.

("Once in a Lifetime", Talking Heads, 1980 - find the rest on azlyrics.com

In the big scheme of things, I know how lucky I am. I have a wonderful family and friends, good health, a comfortable home that feels like home, and all the basics (and a good bit more) that I really need. Which is why, while perusing the shelves at a bookstore, I suddenly found myself face-to-face with a multitude of unrealized good intentions. I had always thought that my life would include more writing / reading / sewing / cooking / canning / making / playing / gardening / all-around-good-times. And I definitely thought I would be spending a lot more time with my family and friends. Yet somehow, there was a whole lot less of what I valued most in my everyday than I was prepared to accept.

That is when I remembered first semester micro-economics, and the lesson of Opportunity Cost Theorem. (For the record, that is the only thing I remember from microeconomics.) If you are not familiar with opportunity cost, please allow me to illustrate…

You near the tolls preparing to cross the bridge, and there are a number of lanes to choose from. These are your opportunities. Pick one, any one, and you give up all the possibilities, good or bad, associated with any of the choices you pass over. The fastest lane, the grumpy toll booth operator, the person who paid the toll for the car behind her, the car in front that chose exact change when she doesn’t have any change at all - these are all unknowns.

In reality, we choose what we think is the best option - given the information we have in the moment. I just suddenly realized that I picked the wrong lane. Well, how DID I get here David Byrne

You know, becoming an entrepreneur seemed like a good choice at the time – twice. It involved reordering my priorities in a way that was no longer congruent with the life I wanted to live, and I was somehow strangely ok with that for awhile. There were just so many gruelling hours and sleepless nights and the debilitating stress tied to it all, none of which was in the brochure they use to promote entrepreneurship here in Atlantic Canada. But I had apparently opted-in to the all-inclusive package, and it didn't suit me. It's an oversimplification, but true none-the-less.

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right? Am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself

So, I’m re-routing to a traditional J.O.B. for an amazing, ethical company that I can pour my energies into during normal business hours and feel really, really good about it. When I’m not working, I am going to enjoy the pleasures of family, friends, and all the passions that truly round out the edges of what I consider to be a fulfilling life.

While I’m at it, I’ll offer up a few choice moments and insights here on my personal blog. This crafty #liberal #susty #feminist momma might just get herself some chickens, make her own cheese, crochet a house cozy, solve some type of global crises through home composting strategies. You never know.




Laurie DolhanComment