I have been talking with different friends recently about goals. What are things they are aiming for in life? A position at work? To see a part of the world? To own a certain car, house, bike? Part of this interest was inspired by this article I read in Outside Magazine. As I looked at their 51 ideas, I realized that I would probably not ever do 49 of them. And part of that was because even if I wanted to do them, I’m not sure it’s ok for me to pursue them.
That got me thinking… how do I decide what’s ok? For each of us and for every decision, there is a continuum between ‘enough to satisfy a need’ and ‘too much, should be ashamed that I bought/did/pursued that’.
For example, I need to provide a house for my family. But I know there is a break point (measured in square footage or price of accutrements or ??) that a house is too much house. How do I determine that point?
Or, I know I need a car to get my posse of 6 around. I’ve got no problem with a van, but what about something more luxurious? What’s the break point (measured in price and features) of too much car?
Or, I know it is good for me to take a vacation. I gladly head to a beach here on the East Coast, but what about something more exotic? What’s the break point for too much vacation?
How do you decide? For most of us that question has been answered by looking at our resources. Very simply, we don’t have a luxury car, we don’t go on a $10k vaca because we don’t have the money. But many of us at Restoration are getting to the point where we do have the resources to do some of those things. That Outside Life List is aimed at folks in their late 30s/early 40s who are making critical (if, unfortunately, not conscious) decisions about career, and how they will spend discretionary time, and new disposable income. In this area of DC in particular, we have the luxury and privilege of asking this break point question– when does enough become too much? I think the answer is very subjective and contextualized. It is an answer of wisdom, not of morality. It would be too easy and a mistake to say one answer is right for everyone.
It is very personal and vulnerable. But I propose that none of us should make the decision alone or even as family units. How many of you invite others into your ‘life list’ conversations? Would you ever sit down with your small group, some trusted friends, or an elder in the church and say: “We’re aiming for a vacation that looks like this. We can afford it. Do you think this is a good idea? Does this push us beyond a break point that is good for our soul?” What if we all were humble enough AND had the privilege of a group of people who would be ‘discernment partners’ for us? Would you do it?
And yes, that bike is the thing that makes this post real for me. Pretty, ain’t it?