Nov 20, 2011

Tell Me it Ain't So

By Wendy A. Jones

My apologies for posting so late today. I had one of those days yesterday (which included a birthday party for my eight-year-old daughter) that could only be unwound by reading a good book. Or two.

I always forget (or conveniently avoid thinking about) what happens to me when I stay up until 2 a.m. I'm an adult, and in all honesty should know better, but I still do it on occasion.

Which brings me to the topic of this blog, which I actually hatched before turning myself into the perfect object lesson. My first title was "Sacrifice as a Life Principle."

Most everybody, even if they aren't formally taught the concept, understand the law of the harvest. You reap what you sow. If I go to bed early, I wake up more refreshed than if I stay up until, say, 2 a.m. I'm sacrificing the pleasure of now (reading one more book!) to the idea of something more important later on (being patient with my children). We make so many of these choices every single day I don't even think we realize it 99% of the time. Obey the traffic laws or don't? Eat breakfast or skip it? Do the laundry or go to the park? Watch a movie or do the ironing? (Okay, that one's easy: watch a movie while ironing.)

The point is, we all sacrifice some things and don't sacrifice others because of expected outcomes. If the expected outcome is greater than the sacrifice, we'll most likely choose to sacrifice something right now for something better later. If the expected outcome is less than the sacrifice, we may decide to bag it and not bother.

Let's use another instance in my own life, this time when my sacrifice was a little misguided. I was probably 9 or 10 years old, and I saw something at the store that I wanted. I wanted it badly. It was a Get in Shape Girl aerobic exercise set.
See the girl on the far right? Yeah, that's who I wanted to be. I was ready to sell my soul for those white and purple dumbbells. Luckily, I didn't have to do that because I was paid 50 cents an hour to babysit my younger brothers.

Now, the Get in Shape Girl aerobic exercise set was $15.99. That's a lot of babysitting. But . . . ooh, I wanted it. I wanted it so much I was willing to give up penny candy for months. When I finally had enough saved, my best friend and I rode our bikes to the store and I made the purchase.

When I got home and took them out of the box, I was unpleasantly surprised. Those dumbbells . . . they didn't actually weigh anything. What a rip off! Here, I thought I'd be toning and getting strong enough to beat up my older brothers, but all I'd gotten was fake dumbbell lookalikes!

To bring this back to writing, then. This week, I looked at my book and I wondered if it was worth the sacrifice. Not only all the hours I've spent writing it, but all the other things I could have been doing while writing. Is the outcome going to be worth it? Or am I going to end up, after all my effort, with plastic dumbbells again?

Truthfully, there's no way to know at this point. But I think my book's pretty good so far. I honestly think the only way I'll end up with plastic dumbbells is if I quit too soon. If I can hang in there long enough, eventually I'll be the one keeping people up until 2 a.m.

Yeah. The sacrifice is totally worth it.


  1. Good for you, Wendy! Haha...I love your analogy. Thanks for a great post!

  2. :-D Totally worth it! Even if only for yourself. I find my writing is more for me right now.

    And Wendy, I can't wait to see your book. I love your wit.


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