There’s a wonderful advice columnist I follow by the name of Dan Savage. In his advice column and Podcast Dan responds to questions about relationships (some aren’t very PG – beware if that offends you) sent to him by his readers and listeners. One of the things I admire about Dan is his ability to boil down to simple terms the complex thoughts and emotional processes we all go through – processes that drive our decisions.
My favorite Savage term is ‘Price of Admission’. We know what it means at an amusement park, or at the movies – but if we stop and think about it, we can clearly understand what it means in the context of relationships, whether personal or professional. The price of admission for being with us could mean ‘small’ things like our obsession with golf, snoring, or that we always leaves dirty dishes in the sink. But it could also refer to much bigger issues: abusive spouses, addiction issues, or worse. The price of admission in the context of jobs could mean 60+ hours a week, mean bosses, non-stop travel, 2 hour commutes, etc.
Subconsciously we continuously evaluate and decide whether we’re willing to pay these prices of admission. That moment when we decide we aren’t willing to pay the price for something any longer – that is when we make changes in our lives. “I can’t take his drinking any more”; “I can’t work for this man a second longer”; “I can’t continue to eat so horribly and watch myself get ill”; “I will not allow this BF/GF to treat my child so horribly any more”; “I can’t vote for this party’s agenda anymore because of how they continue to treat X” – examples of our psyche telling us the price of admission is too high.
Thinking about life in those terms has helped me cope with some of the more difficult moments I’ve had to deal with. I take a deep breath, and ask myself whether I’m willing to continue paying the price admission for this particular ‘ride’. Whether it’s a friend, a spouse, business partners, where we live, who to vote for, that extra slice of pizza, or extra hour of sleep – everything has a price of admission.
You need to be honest with yourself about what you’re agreeing to pay, or say to yourself “that’s it. I am no longer willing to pay the price of admission for this”.
Thank you Dan Savage. You’ve helped me in more than a few difficult junctions in my life.