Friday, January 8, 2010

Cash in on the pay off...

There is a cost and a pay off associated with everything. Happiness comes when you believe you're getting a good pay off for what it costs you.

Take eating food...because I REALLY love eating food. I get excited about it. I look forward to it. I don't just eat because I'm hungry, I LOVE the taste of food. The taste is the pay off. The cost is the calories and what the particular food does to my body.

For instance, my favorite food is a cream filled donut from Mark's Donuts in North Little Rock, Arkansas (Camp Robinson Road to be exact). The "pay-off" is the taste. Just thinking about the light, fluffy pastry with the soft, warm, creamy luscious filling makes my mouth water in anticipation. It's truly heaven in my mouth!! The cost is (most likely) an insanely enormous number of calories. I'm not even exactly sure how many because I've never really wanted to know. For me, it's like going to a fancy restaurant where they don't put the prices on the menu. My dad used to say, "If you have to ask how much something is, you probably can't afford it!"

When I lived in Sheridan (about 45 minutes from Mark's), the family and I went to Mark's every Sunday before church (back when they were open on Sundays). When I was on a diet, the cost of the donuts (calories) wasn't worth the pay off (the taste). After all, I could have them anytime I wanted to. The pay off became losing weight and the cost was not eating those delicious donuts. Now that I live 6 hours away, I eat at least THREE every chance I get, which is not often. The costs are: getting up at 3 am (they close at like 10am, but in order to make sure I can get there before they sell out, I have to leave my house by 3am) and the calories. The pay off is the TASTE EXPLOSION in my mouth when I eat them!! The costs (getting up early every now and then when I'm going to Arkansas, as well as the extra calories) are more than worth it to me because I can sleep when I get home and I can (theoretically) work out harder to negate the extra intake.

However if I ate Mark's donuts every day, I wouldn't be happy because the taste pay off wouldn't outweigh the eventual unhealthy state my body would be in. At the same time, because of my love for them, the cost would have to be EXTREMELY high for me to give them up completely, forever.

I was explaining this theory to my friend who really HATES her job. We'll call her Sally since I didn't get permission to use her in this blog. At the moment it's not practical for her to quit or to find another job for various reasons that I won't go into here. I was telling her that what she needs to do in order to be happy in her current situation is to determine what the pay off is (for the "cost" of working in a job she hates) and "cash in" on it somehow. She needs to figure out exactly what she is getting out of the job, right now, and enjoy it, right now.

Her problem is that she will set up a future pay off, but the current cost is more than she can bare at times. When I was on a diet and forgoing Mark's, I wasn't completely focused on the eventual weight loss (although that was certainly part of it), I considered each time I abstained to be a victory for my body. Therefore I cashed in on the pay off at the time I paid the price (not eating the love of my taste buds). As the extra weight came off, the pay off became fitting in smaller sized jeans.

The problem with always putting the pay off in the future is that you can lose sight of it, which is just as bad and losing sight of the cost. In the last year I haven't been watching what I eat and have therefore put on a few extra pounds. (Can you say "yo-yo"?) The bill has come due on all those taste explosions, and now it's time to pay up!! However, rather than looking at my current calorie-counting and work outs (that will start Monday) as payment for last year's excesses....I'm going to remember what those small victories felt like when I went to Mark's and didn't partake, and cash in on the pay off today. When I choose not to eat some tasty treat, or when I choose to get up at 5 to work out so I can spend my day creating "art" (see previous blog entry), I will cash in on the victorious feeling that will come just after making the choice. I won't look at those choices as evil necessities to pay for past transgressions, or as lay-away payments for a future smaller-sized/healthier body. I'll cash in RIGHT THEN as the pay off is made.

What in your life is costing more than it's worth to you?? What can you cash in on in order to have a better outlook on your life?? It is really a matter of how you choose to look at your life and the choices you make. Sometimes (most of the time, really) you can't change your circumstance, at least not immediately, but you CAN change your attitude.

Okay, "Sally"....time to cash in for all your hard work. What's the pay off going to be for you today???

1 comment:

  1. Hi there sis!

    Ok, so your blog really touched my heart tonight. I often struggle with the decision of not working (as much) and staying at home with my precious baby. I often think of the "better" financial situation we would be in if I would just get a stable job with stable hours. The immediate pay-off for this, most definitely, would be a stable paycheck every-other week, increased income into the house, and a slightly better financial situation for our family. However, the immediate cost would be losing precious time with my daughter.

    The long-term payoff for staying at home is quite obvious - I am sure I will NEVER regret staying at home with her. I know she will benefit 150% from my being with her at this very young age. And keeping her out of daycare is so very important to us as a family (not to mention the importance to our pocketbooks!). The costs for staying at home with her is - well - I can't even think of a possible cost. Maybe the cost would be I can't spend as much money... but I can't think of a single thing I need anymore?!!!

    Reading blogs like this truly does help me put into perspective my decision to stay home with Hannah. We might sacrifice a lot, and have to really watch our spending, stick to a budget and make some life-altering changes (i.e. selling our house, selling the truck that Josh loved oh-so-much), etc., but it's sooooo worth it!

    Thanks for your post!