For many years I have contended there is no such thing as sacrifice. It started when I would listen to elite swimmers lamenting they had to sacrifice a lot to swim. No parties, crap food and the like in order to be the best swimmer they could. It never made sense to me, still doesn’t. Surely the pursuit of excellence is a choice, not a sacrifice.
There is no such thing as sacrifice, only the choices we make to do one thing over another. An elite athlete saying they have sacrificed a normal life for their sport is a bit like me saying I sacrificed my quarterback career in the NFL in the pursuit of a normal life. Sure, an elite athlete has the capacity to ply their trade at an elite level while my quarterback career was limited by my ability to throw and my living a long way from the USA.
Closer to home though, I put my theory to the test in more realistic surrounds.
The festive season is booked solid with functions, friends and family expectations. Everyone starts feeling the pressure of who they should see, send a card to and what events to attend. And, despite the pleas of many a spouse, child and relative we will choose to go to something out of obligation rather than will and “sacrifice” something we really want to be doing instead.
I do it. I don’t get it, but I do it. You do too don’t you?
“I can’t catch up for that drink, I have to….”. “I was coming to your place for New Years, but we have to…”. “The kids wanted to come riding, but we are going to…”.
When did it become impolite to do what we wanted to do? Why do we consider it a sacrifice when what we are doing is making a choice? We are making choices to do things we don’t want to out of a sense of obligation to other people’s feelings, other people’s needs and, in a lot of cases, peer group pressure.
My friends, family and close colleagues are safe in the knowledge that I choose them and when I choose something else (like work) over them, I tell them straight.
There seems to be no avoiding it. That’s life as we know it. I don’t get it but I do it. But let’s stop saying we are sacrificing things when it is all about choice.