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The Power of Choice

February 8, 2012 · 59 comments

in Life, Personal Finance

I recently had Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction in my left knee.  Recovery from this surgery usually requires a full ankle to thigh brace, and the patient has to be very careful to not pivot or twist while the new ligament is healing.

Because I was terrified of falling or twisting in the shower, I put a chair in the shower to ensure I would not fall for a few weeks after surgery.  Once I felt confident of weight bearing on my left leg without the brace, I got rid of the chair.  I saw this as a victory, and was sharing my accomplishment with my family.  Right after I stated my success, my oldest son said “but why WOULDN’T you want to sit down in the shower?”.  Well, I guess I never really thought about that.  Sitting actually was quite comfortable, but I didn’t like that I HAD to sit to take a shower.

This little shower discussion made me think about the power of choice.

Most of the time, choice is good!

Having multiple options in most situations can be very helpful.  For myself, I can’t stand being backed into a corner with little or no choices.  However, some people prefer to NOT have a choice so that a decision can be made for them. Not having options eliminates second guessing or worrying over any particular decision.

However, I think having options is key to feeling freedom and maybe even having an optimistic outlook.

Think about your own future.

Wouldn’t you rather have the ability to travel to visit family, maybe spend the winter months in a warm climate, and have choices regarding medical care in your retirement years?  If you do want to have such options, it requires a lot of work and a lot of money.  You can’t go through your life spending as you wish and magically expect to have the ability to do whatever you want in the future.  (Unless you are born with more money than you can spend.)  You must be disciplined in order to attain that freedom.  It takes sacrifice, planning, and some good luck and health too.

So, if you live your life without goals, rethink that strategy.  It is never too late to start saving and planning for tomorrow.  It may be easier to live day-to-day for now, but it will make your life much harder in the long run.

If you do have a plan for the future, when did you create it?  Have you stuck to your plan, or does it evolve?

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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Money Beagle February 8, 2012 at 8:55 am

Ours changes pretty regularly. Five years ago I never would have thought we would buy a camper, but a couple of years ago we started talking about it and it actually made sense. Never would have thought we would have got one last year but we found one that was everything we wanted and at a great deal, so we pulled the trigger. Things change and we have the flexibility to allow it.

Reply

Kris February 13, 2012 at 9:47 pm

I have often thought about getting a camper, they sound so fun. Storage seems to be the biggest issue.

Your story reminded me of a family friend. The husband was nearing retirement and had dreams of traveling the country in a Winnebago. His wife laughed at him. Next thing you know, they are driving around in a Winnebago…

I hope you enjoy your travels and thanks for sharing.

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Krantcents February 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Money and education provide choices. Having enough money and the ability to earn more give you freedom. I love the choices I have in life thanks to savings and good financial planning. It just doesn’t happen because I am a pleasant person.

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Kris February 13, 2012 at 9:48 pm

I think your pleasantness has something to do with it though!

You have done a great job of managing money and having an interesting career(s). You will be able to do whatever you want one day, and you probably could now if you chose to.

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Carol@inthetrenches February 8, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Love the shower story! That’s what I always try to emphasize in the blog. We become so conditioned to believe that what we are doing is the “right” way without ever considering or being aware of the options. Often the very thing that we call normal is the thing that is dragging us down. Going outside our own circle in the people we know and the information we receive can often provide different ideas to consider. And, as you mentioned are kids are often the ones who can point these out. Take any four year old and listen and they come up with amazing observations, questions, and ideas.

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Kris February 13, 2012 at 9:45 pm

You are so right Carol. I love when my kids get me thinking outside of the box. I just laughed when my son was confused as to why I wouldn’t embrace sitting in the shower each and every day.

Thanks for the comment Carol!

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Thomas - Ways to Invest Money February 9, 2012 at 11:20 am

I think people fear choice simply to make things easier. If one is forced to saved then its like a weight lifted off. But when they have the choice to or not to buy something and save they seem to regret have a choice. I love being able to make my own decisions because I have choices. You have to not fear being wrong!

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Kris February 12, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Thomas, I think you hit the nail on the head. Sometimes, people are paralyzed by the fear of making the wrong decision, or not doing the absolute best thing. However, quite often in life, we see that sometimes a different path ends up leading to an optimal solution anyway. You just never know.

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retirebyforty February 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Choices = freedom. It’s pretty simple. I don’t like being forced to do things I don’t like either. That’s why I’m working hard to gain the freedom to decide for myself.
A chair in the shower would be nice. 🙂

Reply

Kris February 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm

A shower chair is nice when it is by choice. Plus, mine was not your standard ‘shower chair’ and I probably ruined it!

You will have your freedom soon Joe!

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Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager February 9, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Sitting in the shower is pretty amazing…
I tend to over plan, but am flexible when the plans need to change. Always evolving, if you will, for another exciting adventure.

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Kris February 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Being open minded is great Jenna. I am a big planner too, probably because our schedule is pretty crazy with the 3 teens. However, half the time something ends up canceled or whatever and all my great plans were for nothing!

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Dieting tips online February 11, 2012 at 5:51 am

I am really glad that I have found this post and I thank you for letting us know about this information….This is a big help for sure!!Thanks!!

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Pagg Supplement February 12, 2012 at 1:56 am

good Article!

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101 Centavos February 12, 2012 at 11:08 am

You’ve got that right, that is what most of us are working towards. The ability to make voluntary choices, beholden to no outside forces.

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Kris February 12, 2012 at 1:50 pm

The older I get, the more I realize that money can make a huge impact on quality of life. For instance, I was at physical therapy recently and this woman was there and her insurance refused to cover PT because she did not have surgery first. Having the ability to pay for things that your body needs is huge.

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First gen American February 13, 2012 at 8:30 am

Life is unpredictable so you always have to be tweaking your plans. To me choices = hope.

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Kris February 13, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Hope is a great thing. Losing hope can be so sad.

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