Med One to One Spring/Summer twenty twenty-two ISSUE 71

What Is Your Cost?

Written By: Madeline Cheney

It is an incontrovertible truth that every choice we make will cost us something. You may think getting a meal from McDonald's will only cost you a few dollars. That's true, but what is also true is that that meal will cost you in calories, your time, and your focus. That meal could also prevent you from eating with your family, which would cost against your relationships. Every choice will cost us, whether it’s money, time, relationships, health, goals, or the opportunity cost of not choosing something else.

Over time, the cumulative effects of our choices and what they cost can be compared to long- term investments. Although spending time with loved ones costs us that time, quality time usually pays dividends over the years, resulting in a worthwhile investment. Conversely, a daily dose of fast food will not only cost money each visit but will have hidden costs in the form of poorer physical health.

Several years ago, I was standing in line at a store. I remembered that I had been asked to take a brief survey to help a neighbor out with a statistics course they were taking and thought that would be a productive use of my time while I waited. I thought it could be my “good deed” for the day. After pulling up the survey on my phone and working on it, I heard a man’s voice behind me say, “must be hard.” Confused, I turned to him and said, “excuse me?” I wasn’t even sure he was speaking to me. I was shocked as the man elaborated, “It must be hard to be so addicted to your phone.” I was livid. Fortunately, I had made it to the front of the line and was able to make my purchase and leave. Here I was trying to be productive and help someone else while this man had observed me for just moments and felt the need to intrusively tell me I had a phone addiction.

"A person can string together so many days of online scrolling that they look back and realize there wasn’t enough substance to make the full life they may have wanted."

As mad as I was after that encounter, the truth is that most people spend excessive amounts of time on their devices (myself included). Social media usage represents a considerable time cost for most people. The national average amount of time spent on social media is 65 minutes per day. Additionally, the general daily amount of screen time is just over seven hours each day. This is a massive amount of time. Part of that time is likely for work and school, but what is the rest used for, and what is it costing us?

That time spent on our devices may very well be positive and productive. The cost may be easily justified. We may also justify the price because we found something hilarious or learned something new. However, there are certainly segments of time that only cost time and yield little to no reward, making it a poor investment.

Internet consumption is an easy example to bring up that most people can relate to and find areas to improve. It also happens that that is how most of us spend a significant amount of our time. However, evaluating what our choices are costing us in all aspects of our lives will be beneficial to ensure we are on the course we want to be on.

There is a quote that I love and display at my desk so that I can be reminded of it daily.

“Don’t wait to live. This isn’t a rehearsal; this isn’t a dry run; this isn’t a pre-performance routine. This is it. This is real life. Don’t wait. Savor every minute.” -Jeffrey R. Holland

It’s easy to scroll online and lose hours, and it costs us. When we get that fast food, buy that fancy new thing, or neglect important relationships, it costs us. We only have one shot to use each minute of our lives up how we want before that minute is gone. I’m not going to stop being on social media and am not suggesting that, but it is essential to be mindful of the cost and live purposefully. Otherwise, a person can string together so many days of online scrolling that they look back and realize there wasn’t enough substance to make the full life they may have wanted.

We all get one shot at life and thankfully get to wake up each morning to a new day. Take advantage of that and make sure you spend your time, energy, and money on what will take you where you want to end up. Make sure each cost is worth it.