I recently read a murder mystery by author Robert Dugoni called “Damage Control.” I’ve read most of his books and I really enjoy them. I enjoy his writing style. I mention this because there is a scene described in this latest one that sadly, I’ve experienced before. It relates the main character, Dana, arriving home after a hard day as a trial attorney. She has mail between her teeth, her laptop and purse over her shoulder, groceries in her arms, and the dry-cleaning hooked on a finger. And she is trying to get into the house with her toddler and the family dog under her feet. Oh, and I think her cell phone is ringing all the while. It is a little hilarious, and a little bit tragic as you see the metaphor of a life out of control. You soon discover as you read further that Dana’s life is truly spinning out of control and not just during the moment at the front door. Maybe a little foreshadowing there?
As I was reading it and chuckling for a moment, I stopped laughing when it struck me that although funny to relate in a story, I do not like it when I experience a “Dana” moment in my own life. I try to be on top of things. But sometimes, getting out the door with all my stuff, not forgetting anything (forgot my phone on the kitchen table today….sigh), balancing my coffee, purse, laptop, and a covered dish for a luncheon, I realized that I can still fall into the trap of trying to do everything last minute. Ugh.
When I was younger, I always envied those perfect planners. You know the ones. They have the perfect carry-all for their covered dish, they load up what they can the night before, and they always start the day early enough so that they are not rushed. Who ARE these people???
There are moments when each of us look at other people’s lives and ask, “How do they do that?” As a professional organizer, I can tell you that even the MOST organized individual falls short occasionally, but generally I find that the difference between the “haves” and the “have nots” of the organized world boils down to one thing: The understanding of opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is a business term that basically states that for everything there is a cost, and if you spend money on one thing, you cannot spend that same money on something else. When you trade any form of currency for one thing, be it time or money or some other resource, you have lost the “opportunity” to use those same dollars, or the same block of time on anything else.
It is up to us to decide what we will “pay” for the life we desire. We all want to be fit, but the price is exercise and eating healthfully. We all would like to be rich, but the price is hard work. We all want to be organized, but the price for that is time spent up front to prepare for the next day or the money and effort to put an organization system into place. The price may also be our pride in asking for help. I know I’ve been there and done that one!
Attaining a calm space and the peace that accompanies it always cost us something. So, the question becomes, “What am I willing to pay to have what I want?” An even more important question may be “What price am I paying by making NO choice.” Because make no mistake… NO choice is still a choice. You are already paying a price somewhere for your actions or inaction. Finding the balance between the value of the life we want to live and the price we are willing to pay is a personal choice, but either way, our choices extract a cost. The saddest life ever lived is one of an individual who gives their power away and allows their inaction, their lack of engagement and/or denial of responsibility to dictate the course of their lives.
When I get to the end of my road and look back to see where I’ve been, I don’t want to find that a lack of intention and purposeful living created a life of chaos and missed opportunities for peace and abundance. If the crazy scene described in that book of a woman’s chaotic arrival home happens to you occasionally, then congratulations! You’re normal. But if crazy and out of control IS your normal, then maybe it’s time to negotiate a new deal. The good news is that YOU get to name your price!
Make today a cost-effective day in EVERY way!