Friday, May 29, 2015

The Flipside of the Coin

by Suzanne Warr

Every since our move, I've been taking our dog for regular walks.  Usually twice a day for 1-2 miles each, they give him a much-needed break from his new existence as an almost exclusively indoor dog, without a backyard to call his own.  The best part, of course, is they're good for me, too.
  • They give me a break from all the sitting I do as I write and work on editing deadlines.
  • They provide the push I need to get in a bit of exercise.
  • They often provide me chatting time, if I bring a family member along or make a phone call.
  • They give me a chance to get to know random neighbors I'd probably never meet otherwise.
  • They encourage me to explore lakes and parks in my area.
  • They get me out in nature, where I enjoy the beautiful songs of bird, movements of clouds, and greenery that isn't dependent on my scatter-brained watering schedule.
This pic sums the pluses up pretty well.  Even with a cell phone, you can see how gorgeous the lake was the other night!

And I can pretty much guarantee that I wouldn't have made it out that evening if I hadn't known the doggie simply must be taken out.  So, this is a situation that's all plus, right?

Well...maybe not.  For one thing, summer's heating up so my window in which it's pleasant outside is shrinking.  Despite our gorgeous NC winters, the same will happen when it gets cold in a few months, and that's a problem since I'm a major wimp about cold!  Additionally, it's often hard to find just the right time, and there are lots of days I'd rather get my exercise/outside time in the pool, or at a no-dogs-allowed park.  I suspect it took my longer to get over my last cold because I couldn't take a total down day.  And, no doubt about it, I could cheerfully do without twice a day picking up bags of poop!

It's at times like this I like to remind myself of the sage advice one professor used to remind us--that you can't pick up one side of the coin without also picking up the other.  There's an opportunity cost for every single choice we make, no matter whether we see it or not.  I know that holds true of my writing, as well.  This is true of picking one pov, two, three, or a dozen to tell my story.  It's true when I decide to tell it in third person past tense, just as it is when I tell it in first person present.  I recently read a book that was in verse, and reviewed it on my blog.  One of my commenters admitted that he hadn't picked it up, despite interest, because it was written in verse.  Aannd he was probably willing to come clean about that because I'd admitted I almost didn't read it for the same reason!  Yet, the verse-style of writing perfectly suited the book and beautifully enhanced the story telling.

There's that flip side again.

So, how do you know which one you should choose?  Is the best option to simply freeze in place, avoiding all choices and all possible opportunity costs?  No, because of course that's also a choice and comes with its own opportunity cost that's pretty expensive.  If we're frozen with indecision we're negating almost all positive outcomes!  So, how to choose?  Can I wave a sparkly pink and green wand of wonder and show you which way you should go?

I'm afraid I can't.  Not for you, and not for me.  But I can tell you that there's a golden-joyful-guaranteed way to be happy with your choice.  And that is--First, trust yourself.  Second, be kind to yourself.  Third, allow yourself to grow.

Only you can know instinctively how to live your life, or write your book.  No one can know that better than you, because if they do have insights and helpful awareness, you'll know they're right when they tell you what they think.  Second, be kind to yourself because sometimes you'll still make mistakes.  You'll misapply a truth, or get over-excited, or simply fall on your face.  None of us are perfect, and these things happen!  Which is why you also need to let yourself grow.  You don't want to be damned up like a little river never allowed to explore, do you?  To be a doll-like being with no upward change in store?  So you have to let yourself grow, and growing requires mistakes and learning and getting it right next time.  If you do that, your opportunity cost will always be bearable, and your coin flip you can exchange for something better.  That's my promise...and you know I'm never wrong. ;)  What are you juggling lately, or having to choose between?

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