I was having a Xmas dinner this week with two very good friends in a nice place with lovely food that could be shared… how am I grateful? Let me count the ways…
But I digress. One of the dishes ordered was noodles with prawns and other things in it. I happen to adore prawns so I ate one. Thing is, I cannot eat prawns, I get heartburn every time I try, since about 10 years ago. Sure enough, I got heartburn and suffered for a little while (until I got home and drank chamomile tea and took a teaspoonful of raw honey). Do I regret it? No
But it made me think of choices, especially around health and lifestyles. Say I have this non-threatening issue with prawns. I can put up with the discomfort in order to satisfy a wish. I am also addicted to shopping, which is annoying as I have this wish for financial independence and early retirement (hello, Mr Money Mustache!).
It is about loopholes with personal choice, it seems. The prawn-induced suffering is easily allayed and shopping can be justified in a thousand ways (my favourite ways of justifying un-necessary purchases are 1. buy an edible plant for my garden, preferably perenial, preferably on sale and preferably grown locally; 2. gifts for friends).
But there is an area where loopholes seem to apply waaay less, if at all. That’s the domain of life choice. That’s like personal choice but with a priority somewhere in the stratosphere! Say I don’t eat red meat. I do, but just as an example. It is my life choice not to eat red meat. There are no health factors contributing to this choice. And say I would go visiting and on the table most of the food either has red meat in it or has been cooked with red meat. There may be some peanuts, a salad, some fruit. I am very, very hungry, ravenous to be precise. Would I eat red meat?
NO. Because it is a life choice, so I would have to fight myself in the most intimate way in order to eat that dish.
Could I be persuaded by others in a non-compulsory way (saving a life is compulsory, friendly peer pressure is not)? Again, NO. I would probably get angry and dig my toes in and that relationship would become quite strained – it’s a question of trust and respect – “don’t you like me the way I am?”.
This applies to many more areas that are apparent at first: the cosmetic products one uses, the jobs we choose, the families we raise, you name it, life choice is at the bottom of a myriad things.
Is it the be all and end all of things? NO! One ignores society, upbringing, time, history and the like at one’s own peril. But it is a very, very powerful thing. How powerful?
Well, how about if I made financial independence a life choice?
*the initial post was crystal clear in my head but logically muddled on screen (hmm…) due to definition issues. Editing done! 🙂