Wednesday, January 6, 2010

OPPORTUNITY COSTS

People often tell us about opportunies they missed like not joining Microsoft when it was small or not finishing a degree or not buying a piece of beachfront property. The challenge with life’s opportunities is that you can’t take them all; you have to pick them and pick well or live a life of regrets.

We know that taking one opportunity can cost the pursuit of another opportunity so our question is always which of the opportunities available to us are the best ones. During times of great economic expansion there may seem to be countless choices for the profitable uses of one’s time and money while in times of economic contraction, like now, it may seem like there are no opportunities. But our experience is that many of the opportunities in the good times were not real whereas the opportunities during these difficult economic times are greater and more impactful though they don’t have the hype of a booming economy to make them look good.

We have been reading stories about the growing number of the long-term unemployed. Many are spending every day for months and years looking for a job. The use of their time and money to look for a job, when there are none, is the loss of an opportunity to pursue some other activity that may deeply improve their life. For us, lying on a couch under a ceiling fan has been a unique opportunity. It has allowed us to lower our blood pressure, lose weight, figure out how to dramatically reduce our expenses, spend precious time with our son, cook all our meals, meet lots of wonderful people, become detached from our careers, and get over ourselves. The choice we did not take was to collect unemployment in California while looking for a job in a hopeless attempt to retain our old lifestyle

Watching the job situation continue to deteriorate, we feel lucky we did not choose to spend our last two years hunting jobs that no longer exist. We would have missed the opportunity to relax and reassess our life in Hawaii. As we look to the future we continue to see opportunities for us outside of the traditional job and the career arena.

Here are some of the opportunities we find ourselves considering:
· Continue to lose weight and get fit;
· Learn another language; Japanese would be good for us;
· Join the Peace Corps or other overseas volunteer organization;
· Be an English teacher in Asia;
· Train for a marathon race or take on a physical challenge like a month-long hike or pilgrimage;
· Write a biography, poetry, a novel, or a how-to book;
· Join a cruise ship crew or travel group;
· Use a car as a taxi service and give local tours;
· Join the Red Cross or Citizen Corps to new learn skills and aid others in disaster situations.

4 comments:

canders said...

Great observations. We can really identify. We went through the whole Peace Corps process but abandoned it before final placement as they insisted we might not be able to be in touch with family for 4-6 weeks at a time. With our two daughters oversees teaching English (Korea & India), this was not acceptable. We have also done the TEFL certificates and volunteer taught a bit in Daramsala, India and in Thailand. It's such a great option. We may do it for six months to a year somewhere. Lots more info on our experiences in my wife's and older daughter's blogs if you're interested (Peace Corps, TEFL, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Daramsala, India, Hawaii, etc.). Thanks once again for such a well stated reminder of how we need to look forward, - - not backwards in our life experiences.
http://journals.worldnomads.com/annanderson/
http://www.sistak.blogspot.com/
Be well,

Victoria Hokulani said...

The thing is when you are living a simple stripped down life, it affords you the ability to really dig into yourself and enjoy and develop all the treasures within you. The creativity fluorishes and you learn the meaning of a joyful life. I am not a religious person, but am very intrigued by this one fact: The Bible tells us over 800 times to be "Joyful in all that you do!" Funny how most religions do their best to suffocate the most important part of living!

Katherine said...

Insightful post, as always! After completely burning out and leaving the workforce, I've been taking time to recenter. Thanks for articulating how I (and so many of us) have been feeling.

This month I've been able to wake up each day with that leap-out-of-bed feeling, looking forward to what I can learn and create. The last time I felt like this was years ago, on summer breaks from college!

Some opportunities we're considering: making our way to Hilo =)

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