Thursday, October 6, 2011

Choices, aka Me Being Vulnerable With You All

Well, if you're hoping that this post won't include a blurb about Henry Cloud, today is not your day. It's W this time, and as you all know, Dr. Henry Cloud is my favorite author. So much so that I am currently doing a book study of "Changes that Heal" at my church, and it's dredging up all sorts of insight that I had forgotten about since I first read the book 4 years ago. But, more on that later.

I've been reminded lately that every choice we make includes a sacrifice of what we've chosen against, even if it's an easy choice or a good choice or the right choice. To put this concept into an Economics model, we say that every choice must be made by evaluating a cost-benefit analysis which includes the opportunity cost. "Opportunity cost" is what you lose by NOT doing something. For example, if I decide to go back to school and get my Master's, it's not only going to cost me $50,000 in tuition, but ALSO the income that I could have earned had I kept working instead. Say the program is two years long and I had been making $30,000/year at work- then, the program will actually cost $50,000 plus $60,000 in lost income, so I need to evaluate if the predicted future gains of having a master's is really worth the $110,000 it will cost me to get it.

When I first heard this whole thing about opportunity cost, it blew my mind. I had never thought about decision making in this way. For awhile it kind of paralyzed into a place of never making any decisions because all I could think about was the lost opportunity that would come from making a decision. Obviously this can't go on for too long before one has to pick herself and say "C'est la vie," but it really did reorder my thinking about how to approach choices.

I say this as a preface to the actual topic of this post, which is that I realized recently that I have been majorly unfair to T for the last 16 months since we moved to Chicago.


Because I have consistently given him a hard time about "making me" move here. It's been no secret that I don't love Chicago. It's been no secret that I want to move back to Nashville as soon as I can. It's been no secret that I feel "jipped" that T gets to live the dream here in a job that he's aspired to have since childhood while I feel stalled on the sidelines. It's no secret that I have spent some time making him feel guilty about this.

That is BAD wife behavior.

I was just so haunted by the opportunity cost of moving to Chicago. I spent a fair amount of time in the last 16 months thinking about what my life would be like "if it weren't for T's terrible job." In my mind I would've have a great job at a non-profit, I'd be chilling in Nashville with lots of friends and beautiful weather, we could afford a quaint, cute starter home for half of what we're paying in downtown Chicago for 800 square feet, and life would be great. But, because of T, and because of his job, that wasn't my reality. And I held HIM accountable for it.


Here's where Henry Cloud comes in and slaps me across the face with truth.

Nobody put a gun to my head and forced me to move to Chicago.

I am a 25 year-old woman, I am an adult, and I am responsible for my own choices. If I chose to be with T at the price of losing my "ideal life in Nashville," then I need to let it go, get over it, and take ownership over the fact that I made a choice and it's MY choice.

I often treated T like I had no choice to move here and that it was his fault that I was miserable. In fact, I did have a choice, and I made it. I decided that I value T more than I value the weather, and more than I value a bigger place to live, and more than I value having my dream job right now (...more on that later...). And because every choice we make is a sacrifice of whatever we have decided against, and because I'm the one who decided, my disappointment and anger at what my life was like last year were and are MY problems to own. And my happiness in Chicago is MINE to make.

I told you Henry Cloud slapped me in the face.

More than anything, I'm just feeling kind of bad about it. I fell so easily into the trap of "I feel bad so I want to make you feel a little bad too because for some reason I think it might make me feel a little better." And that's the kind of stuff that can RUIN marriages if it goes on too long.

And so today, I'm thankful for Henry Cloud, AGAIN, for helping me to see how I can grow to become a better person, Christian, and wife. And I'm also looking out the window and trying to view Chicago on this beautiful, 75-degree fall day as the home that I chose for myself, for better or for worse. And I'm trying to remember that there will be more choices to make in the future, and more opportunities to be gained and lost, and that life is a maze of trying to figure it all out and better yourself along the way.

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