All of us are accountants and managers, maybe just not in the professional sense of the term. We navigate life weighing up costs and benefits. We try to make the most pragmatic use of what we already have. We mull over how to spend our time and money wisely. Sometimes this doesn’t go too well and we make seemingly irrational decisions. That double-scooped ice-cream when a single would have sufficed? That new pair of kicks that looks strangely similar to any other unbranded pair? Yep, we’ve all been there.
You respond in two ways: Shrug and tell yourself there’s no point living life full of #ragrets as it only steals your joy; or chide yourself for your less-than-thoughtful, careless decision. Either way, you become more conscious of what you choose to expend our money and time on, if not more careful. Earlier, I wrote about this being a quid-pro-quo society, where what we receive is an outflow of the hard work we put in. I’m interested in exploring this a little further.
How do we decide what is worth investing into? What constitutes a worthwhile exchange? I think as we live in this Earth with finite days and finite space, we should definitely learn how to do a little bit of profit analysis. What, Renee? Adopt a calculative approach on how to spend your time, money and talents?! How cold and detached of you. Okay, first of all, I’ve established that I’m not the most empathetic person (but I’m slowly changing!) Secondly, that’s not what I mean. What I’m saying is that we should be wise in our choices and deliberate in our actions. Everything that we set our hands to do costs us. When we put time and effort into building relationships, it costs us our emotional vulnerability. When we do things that are potentially out of our comfort zones, we risk a feeling of uncertainty and insecurity. Hello, our university/college degree is taking up (at least) three years of our finite lives. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you can sit tight and be complacent. We are already in the midst of busy trade-offs and barters. We trade off our lives for every decision we don’t choose to make.
Does that mean that when we start making our decisions, life will be peachy? Probably not. Hard work still hurts. The daily work grind is still tough. We are still diamonds in the rough. But at least we’ll be taking ownership of the decisions we make. I’m not even talking about big, life-changing ones like changing a degree or even picking up a new hobby. It’s more like being in-tuned to what you already know to be your passions, fears, strengths and weaknesses and moulding your life to reflect and refine them. More often than not, self-discovery probably doesn’t come with an epiphany or light-bulb moment, rather, it comes through the momentum of our daily lives. When we know what we have been given do we choose to use them. That’s the first step; the rest falls into place over the course of your life-time. That’s the journey.
We also do this to discover our purpose, and to honour life with our decision to protect, utilise and maximise it. Again, I’m not saying go on a proletariat revolution now. I’m saying pay attention to what you have been given, and steward that to the most honourable and dignified measure. Not only your finances, but your dispositions, personality, strengths, quirkiness. Also, your weaknesses, flaws and vices. Am I there yet? Definitely not. There are so many chunks of my life still being refined and moulded into something I cannot possibly achieve in a limited time. However, I am involved in my own life. I know the repercussions of my actions, and value the decisions I make (alongside the counsel of other people).
If you don’t know what you’re doing and don’t know what you’re looking for, perhaps it’s the time to start with what you have already been given, and set out to find truth, life and meaning.