Almost all of Luke and mine dates start or end with a bookstore. Preferably used ones, with dazed looking shopkeepers who rarely look up from their book when you enter. We started one of our first forays into San Diego with such a stop.
While Luke enjoys browsing the classics sections potentially indefinitely, I’m looking for one of three things: a business leadership book with a witty subtitle, a cookbook published in this millennium, or anything by Rand, Hayek, or Mises. The book I walked out with fell into the latter category, “The Road to Serfdom” by F. A. Hayek. What really sold me on this particular copy was the handwritten note in the front cover, “If you’re thinking about voting for Bernie Sanders, read this first.”
I wasn’t Feeling the Bern, but I’m always good for some Austrian economics. This particular quote is most powerful when applied to economic freedom, but it applies to our lives in general as well.
“That people should wish to be relieved of the bitter choice which hard facts often impose upon them is not surprising. But few want to be relieved through having the choice made for them by others. People just wish that the choice should not be necessary at all.”
One of my most annoying habits my senior year of college was constantly reminding friends, fiance and self that, “You can’t have it both ways.” For some reason, having to choose between 2 good things seems to go against everything in our DNA. We desperately fight against it.
We try to squeeze two social engagements into one night, end up hurrying out of one, being late to the other, and not enjoying either. We don’t want to limit our hobbies or extracurricular activities, so we sign-up for everything and end up more stressed than enriched. We want to have time with our loved ones but not miss any e-mails from work so we cheapen our conversations with distracting notifications and then wonder why we always feel overworked.
The reality is, not only are hard choices between more than one good thing inevitable, they are beautiful. Having the ability to choose is a precious gift that shouldn’t be taken lightly. We have the freedom* to make choices about our future, where we live, what work we do, how we worship, and what’s for dinner tonight. Even though that last one can irrationally stress me out to no end, I don’t want to take for granted the beautiful gift that is choice.
So next time I catch myself spending all my free thoughts on whether I should go to Pilates or take a walk during lunch, I’ll be thankful for choosing. Time, money, and life is scarce nowadays. Use it wisely.
*For the time being–I told you I read Hayek, right?