It’s said that the average human being lives 4000 weeks. I am well over the halfway point of that figure and only just waking up to the fact that the opportunity costs connected to the choices we make are a significant reality.
An opportunity cost is the price you paid when you decided to do something with your 24 hours on planet Earth today. It’s the things you didn’t do. For example, if you watch an hour of Netflix then that’s an hour you didn’t spend on something else.
When my boss asks me to do some ridiculously pointless task they are paying me to not do the things I am uniquely qualified to do, given that I am the only me on the planet right now.
It’s the same for you: there has never been another you, there won’t ever be another you, and right now you’re the only human being who is capable of being you.
So when I get asked to do a pointless work task that doesn’t require my expertise – which could just as easily be done by a far cheaper employee – then the boss is paying a high opportunity cost. Would you rather I spend time counselling a struggling student one-to-one, or fill out a form that duplicates data that’s already been shared in three other places?
The principle also applies to my hobby. When I am spending my time doing whatever it is I chose to do for fun tonight, what else could I have been doing instead? What’s the opportunity cost of reading a rulebook from a game I’ll never play? Would it be better for me to spend that time prepping the game I have at the weekend?
I’m really bad at considering these kinds of things when it comes to my discretional time. While I am laser-sharp about how my time gets used at work, on the clock, I am pretty lousy in my private life. But when the 4000 weeks ticks below 1500 to go, it’s time to start considering how I use my days with a little more clarity.
I want to share my time with creative players and discover amazing fantastic realms through the eyes and ears of interesting and richly imagined characters. It’s not worth my time to run through another combat for two hours, grinding down the hit points of some meaningless monster, when I could be off delving more meaningful play.
So… I’m asking myself a little more often: is this worth the time? You have the same 24 hours as everyone else and I want to consider if what I’m doing is giving me value. Thus, when I am GMing a negative group or thumbing through a game book I know isn’t going to get played, I am starting to nudge myself back to the stuff I genuinely enjoy instead.
Each of us has different needs, desires, and appetites. There’s only one of you in the entire history of the universe… so, what I want to know is, “What are you going to bring to the table?”
I’d love you to bring the game you really want to play.