I’ve been near-sighted most of my life. I still remember the day when I figured out that I couldn’t see the chalk board from my seat in class anymore.
I was in the third grade.
It wasn’t that big of a deal. I went to the eye doctor and got a pair of glasses. I’ve been wearing them ever since. Maybe some day I will have corrective surgery, but then again maybe not.
It was only recently that I figured out that there is a much worse sight problem to have – being short-sighted. Not having enough vision to go far enough in life. To see most of the possibilities. To not limit ourselves.
I fell victim to being short-sighted when it came to one of my garden beds. I felt like I needed to redo what had already been done. I felt like I couldn’t take things to the next level. I felt like I had to be happy with the status quo.
Until I realized that the status quo wasn’t going to work. No matter how hard I tried that garden bed would never hold up. And of course I realized there was more I could do. To make it better. Something I could be happy with and proud of for years to come.
I’m not going to beat myself up too much, though. I know that sometimes I’m not ready to see all of the possibilities. Sometimes being short-sighted is a blessing because I can’t deal with what it will take to make something happen.
But, damn, I really wished I had taken a minute to think this garden bed through so I didn’t have to redo it every year for the past 5 years. Oh, well, at least now I know. And then of course there’s hind sight…
It got me to thinking, though, about other areas where being short-sighted can be a detriment to our progress – to a life worth living. The way we spend money comes to mind. It is so easy to spend money on stupid shit.
Unless you’re one of the chosen few, like R.J., that truly understands economics and debt. I’m not. Or at least I wasn’t. It’s kind of understandable that my views have changed after spending the last 20+ years with someone like R.J.
Now I’m good with not spending money on a whim. Now I know what a true investment looks like. Now I know how truly short-sighted I was when it came to money all those years. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how much work it took to earn a living. I was 13 and cleaning toilets for my allowance so believe me I knew what it took to earn $3 a week.
No, it was more that I knew what it would take to make me happy at that moment and it didn’t matter if I didn’t have any money later on. Or I didn’t care that I might miss out on something even better because I couldn’t wait and save my money.
That was being short-sighted.
I’m sure my parents tried to teach me about saving money and some of it must have sunk in otherwise I would still have a problem. But it wasn’t until R.J. set out the options before me that I began to realize what being short-sighted had cost me. It wasn’t until I figured out what I really wanted for my life that I understood that saying no now is going to pay off a lot more later. Thankfully we’re still relatively young so we’re able to correct for some of it.
Like my damn garden bed…
Here’s where I sigh and mentally kick myself again even though I know it won’t make a difference. I still feel like a fool, but a fool who has learned an invaluable lesson. There’s nothing I can do about my past short-sightedness, but I can take steps to correct it moving forward.
I can stop being happy with the status quo. I can stop letting what was done before me dictate what I do now. I can stop putting limits on my vision.