Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Turning wants into obligations...hehehe

I had a revelation today. Those of you who’ve already had this revelation will be nodding their heads sagely, but the rest of you may learn something, so I present the following.

This pertains to how we spend our time. You see, there are wants and needs. Then there is this category I call obligations. These are “things you do because you feel like you have to.” They aren’t true needs. A true need would be like, “I must go to the ER because I broke a bone.” Obligations are fascinating!

My husband has become a pro at turning wants into obligations. For example, he paid for golf lessons a few weeks ago, but has not used them yet. He has to use them before the end of February or the money will be wasted. This motivates him to set up a time to do the lessons. Additionally, he also enjoys fine whisky, so what did he do? He set up a whisky advocacy group. Now he feels obligated to go to whisky tastings and visit new distillers so that he can report back to the group. In this way, he has an excuse to do what he wants, under the guise of it being an obligation. Another way he uses this tactic to his advantage is to talk to any interested party about his paintings. Sometimes those people suddenly want him to make them a painting, and lo…he has an excuse to spend time doing a favorite activity…painting.

Here’s how obligations work when it comes to kids’ activities: Your kid expresses a want. You sign them up for the class or activity, pay the money, get the equipment, and then suddenly the want has become an obligation. See how that works? Now suddenly Jimmy has to go to soccer or gymnastics because it’s already been paid for and you’d be wasting your money to let him stay home.

Are you in this situation at your home? Are you constantly giving up your evenings for the sake of someone else’s “obligations”? Do you have family members who cannot prioritize their wants, but simply must do it all? Maybe we could form a support group. Whaddaya say we meet one evening a week? Yeah. I can hear it now. “Sorry, Honey, I have to go to my Support Meeting.”

I’ll meet you rolling on the floor, laughing.