Translating Thanks to Value
I was out for beers earlier this week with a friend. Amongst the endless conversation, we talked quite a bit about food. First about dining out and then about dining in. I stated that I may be out to eat somewhat often but there are certain experiences I find it mentally difficult to afford. Despite a great curiosity for food and the culture that accompanies it, parting with the necessary funds feels hard to justify at times. The same can often be said for dining in. Since most meals I prepare are just for me, I often think, "do I really need to pop for [local, organic ingredient] when I could buy the more affordable equivalent?" If the occasion was more special then I would take the time to do so.
As I wrapped up making this point, she jumped in and said, when she thinks about the aspects of life she enjoys and finds value in, food and drink are a no brainer. "I don't spend a ton of money on clothes, going to the movies... or whatever it is other people spend their money on. But the octopus dish at Publico is like 👌 [places head on table] and is totally worth the expense to me."
As I drove and reflected on that portion of our discussion, it occurred to me what she had said wasn't a foreign way of thinking but it made a point. It asked that I step back and ask, "What do I enjoy having in my life? Am I investing the time, money and effort into it to enrich the joy and value it gives me?" Some of the choices I might make are reasonable expenses and therefore invites deeper questioning, "Does my current lifestyle permit more investment in this area?" And even if it does, I should still ask, "What am I willing to forego to enjoy this?"
While food is an enjoyable and tasty topic, I think this same question fits well into and should be used off in our lives. When I think about causes I value and services I rely upon, "Am I supporting them?" What social or environmental initiative would I be saddened to see lose ground? Am I donating time, money or effort to the cause or buying from the small business that comes to mind? If not, its unreasonable to bemoan the decline or loss of it.
Let's talk about news and the media. What do you enjoy reading or watching? Are you paying for it? In this era of the internet, we are accustomed to most things we want being free. Its true that some business models out there are antiquated and don't make sense but others are trying to make their way. What magazine or news service are you reading the monthly maximum on? As we watch news organizations struggle financially, we have to ask, "do we want tot be a part of preserving them or watch the ship go down and then bemoan that its gone?"
I plan to take time this holiday to ask, "what am I thankful for?" I aim to prioritze thoughtfullly and then act accordingly with my time and money.
Have a great holiday.
p.s. to the earlier food conversation, I've started reading Dan Barber's Third Plate. He is considered one of the founders of the "food-to-table" movement and offers some enlightening thoughts and curious questions. It should be noted that two former of employees' of his, Michael and Tara Gallina, will open a new restaurant this winter here in STL called Vicia.