“Every choice has consequences.” We’re taught that from the moment we can barely grasp the meaning of that statement. As you get older, it’s easier to understand in real-life terms; if you study hard, you do well on a test. If you break your mom’s favorite china, you get punished. If you tell on your older siblings/relatives, they don’t want to have you around them. By the time we’re adults or at the very least, adolescents, this formula is firmly wired into our brains. Choice + Action = Reward (or Punishment). You do something good, you get rewarded for it. You do something bad, you get punished. But what happens when that’s not always the case?
Economics speaks of an “opportunity cost” (which is simply the foregone alternative), and the older I get, the more I think that even the good choices have an opportunity cost. It’s not as simple as the reward/punishment formula anymore. For instance, when you end a bad relationship, even though it was the right choice to make, there’s still the pain because of the now-dead relationship for you to deal with. You made the right choice, but in a sense, you have to deal with something unwanted as a result. And it suuuuccckkksss because it can feel like you’re being punished for nothing. Even worse, it can feel like you’re being punished for doing the right thing.
I left Nigeria in December, 2011. At the time, I felt like I had to leave. That was my last shot, and if I missed, I had no idea what I’d do. In retrospect, I still think I made the right decision in leaving. I was depressed, I had no idea where my life was going, my relationship with my parents wasn’t at its best, you know, the usual suspects. Leaving was a means of hitting reset. But knowing what it cost me now, I can’t honestly say I’d make the same decision or at least have the same level of enthusiasm if I could go back & do it all over again. It was the right choice, but I missed the most crucial years of my little brother’s life, and I’m not so sure the cost was worth it anymore. Every time he asks me for advice, or he not-so-subtly complains about something, or I can tell he’s struggling in some way with something I have previously struggled with & would have been well equipped to help him deal with, it kills me a little more inside because there’s only so much I can do/say via text/FaceTime. So this is the question I’ve had in my head all week; why is the right thing to do often so expensive?
Don’t mind me, I’m just ranting.
Music recommendation: I have a “Wedding songs” playlist. I even have a “Wedding night” playlist (don’t ask), but a friend sent me this song some months ago saying “when I propose, this is the song I want playing in the background.” After listening to it, I had to agree…