“Nine times out of 10, I would never put that thing in my mouth.”
So went the one-line monologue careening in my head as I passed a downtown cupcake shop.
Some folks are sweets freaks. They stash Fun Size Snickers bars in their desk drawers, scoop handfuls of brightly colored, cellophane wrapped candies out of the jar on the receptionist’s desk. They might have a rock hard frozen 3 Musketeers bar buried in the freezer between their Lean Cuisines and frozen grapes.
Given the choice between the most delicate, confectioners sugar-dusted dessert and a smartly plated cheese tray, I will always choose the cheese.
We all have preferences, and mine typically do not include sweets.
I mulled on the twee cupcake shop with the pink-and-brown frosted treats in the window and knew with conviction what I’d prefer, given a choice between cupcakes and almost anything else. A martini. A bowl of guacamole. A margarita. Bacon.
The cupcake always loses. Always.
The decision between the aforementioned items isn’t as easy.
And that’s the difference between preference and choice.
Life is full of preference and choice. With preferences, we tend to stick with what we know. We know the taste and feel of what we want, and we know how that selection makes us feel. We know what happens when that chemical reaction confronts our own physiology.
We can predict what happens if we sip from the bottle that says DRINK ME.
Preferences are almost always bankable.
Choices – and I’m talking now about something a bit more broad than a red velvet cupcake – are a bit more complicated.
Choices sometimes fly on the wings of whimsy. Choices involve decisions that are not always derived by reasoning. Other times choices are very calculated and intend to move us closer to a goal.
Sometimes we choose the unknown.
Regardless of the motivation, choice always involves giving up on one thing to have another.
Each of our lives are full of choices. I choose to invest in travel over buying belongings. I choose to live in a loud and dense urban community over the vast (editorial: scary) quiet peacefulness of the suburbs.
I choose investing over driving.
The thing about choices – they each present an either-or scenario, meaning you forgo one to have another.
I can’t choose the margarita if I order the martini. I mean, not really. And if I do, for the love of God, please ask me if everything is okay, because it most likely isn’t.
The beautiful thing about this opportunity is that in many cases we get to revisit the proposition. Who knows… Right now my 401(k) gets a healthy injection every paycheck. Maybe someday I may choose something with fuel injection and a steering wheel.
Someday I’ll choose the margarita. Never the cupcake.
We give up on something when we make a choice, but it doesn’t have to be something we lose forever.
The server will always be back around to take your order.
In my case, I prefer he skips the dessert menu.