Friday, October 28, 2011

Worth It

Image by Aleksandra P.

Every now and then, an opportunity presents itself that is bliss in its purest and most potent form. Yet, the timing couldn't be worse—you've got obligations. And you also promised your bank account that better days were ahead.

But who knows when the stars will align like this again?

As you set about finding ways to crowbar this good fortune into the plan, it becomes apparent that this little venture is costing more stress, time, and Benjamins than you originally intended.

It's getting hooked up with front-row tickets and backstage passes to see your favorite music artist perform a one-time intimate engagement...on the same day as your best friend's wedding. A person outside your world could take one glance at the scenario and effortlessly point out the Dr. Phil thing to do-- go to the wedding. Of course, you already know this is the noble route. In life, the upstanding, dignified choice is usually quite clear. However, this is a situation in which the saintly path is in mortal conflict with the sweetness of seizing the day.

Forfeiting this dream come true will mess with you like losing a winning lottery ticket. Yeah, life goes on, but what could have been will haunt you forever. Well, at least in this case, you’ll be seen as responsible. Folks will marvel at your strength of character.

Or, you could deal with the guilt of choosing the concert instead.  Guilt is a more tolerable and temporary emotion than regret. It's the feeling you get when you try not to make eye contact with the homeless guy in the median at the stoplight. You feel bad, but you don't necessarily regret not breaking the guy off a dollar.

You decide to do both. That's right, both. This  requires car salesman-like finagling skills. Since you actually received two tickets, your good friend, who is more diehard than you are about this singer, has excitedly accepted the other ticket. But he's broke and you've got to buy two pricey last-minute flights, which require sloshing around in your already sad savings account. And oh yeah, you'll have to skip most of the reception, jet to the airport, pray the flight's on time, and if the traffic gods are smiling, you might just arrive during the opening act.

It's too much hassle, you think. Maybe this was a bad idea. Just give the tickets back, or better yet, sell 'em. Then you can carry on with your previously scheduled plans without pulling your hair out.

The next morning you wake up, smack yourself for even contemplating abandonment of the experience of a lifetime, and forge ahead with making this thing work. That is, until the next day, when you second-guess yourself again.

It's starting to feel like a gift and a curse. You wonder how many Extreme Makeover families were given customized homes for which they can no longer afford the maintenance. How many folks are promoted and realize they can't handle the new job responsibilities?

Is every gift a blessing?

Yet, you press on. But you yearn for the day after, when it’s all over, when the dust has settled and you can assess the collateral damage. How much are you in the hole? How many gray hairs have sprouted from your scalp?

The idea that buoys you is that you'll look back on this moment with a nostalgic smile, knowing deep down in your heart, that the utter chaos was well worth it.

"I think I don't regret a single 'excess' of my responsive youth. I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions and possibilities I didn't embrace."  -Henry James

Risky Business
Dreaming More Than Others This Is Practical