|August 22nd, 2013|
When we're farther from our limits, decisions are much easier. In asking myself whether I want to walk somewhere in the morning I don't need to consider whether I will need to walk more later in the day. My walking limit is high enough that I can basically ignore it. Similarly I know there's enough food around me that I can wait until I get hungry and then eat something. I might bring some food with me to save on the cost of eating out, but if I don't bother or perhaps stay out longer than planned I know I'm not risking going hungry.
Life is most relaxing when we're far from our limits. There's excitement and a potential for flow in pushing right to the edge of your abilities, but it's mentally exhausting to keep it up for very long. Consider driving down a narrow road: the narrower the lanes are, the more attention you need to put in and the more it stresses you. If the lane widens it gets easier, and after a point it's wide enough that you can relax and trust you'll have plenty of time to fix mistakes.
When handling money I need to make choices and I do have limits, but I'm rationing with enough reserves that the decisions are longer term. What level of consumption can I afford to let myself get used to? How much can we spend on rent? Would a car be worth it? These aren't easy decisions, but having savings means I can stay out of the super painful world of rationing with small reserves.
This is part of what makes poverty and disability so hard: you're much closer to your limits, and you don't have the ability to pull back and give yourself a break if you need to. I might have a similar typical level of activity as someone living with a chronic illness, but while I can just do things if I feel like it they have to keep track of spoons and they can't dip below zero. Julia and I spend less on food than you'd get in food stamps, but because our low level of self-spending is voluntary it doesn't have the accompanying mental burdens of real poverty.