On Motivation

On Motivation

Why is it so hard to do anything? The recent article How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation addressed this feeling amongst millennials. But this feeling (I am used to characterizing it as ennui, but perhaps it’s something more) is felt by many of my GenX compatriots as well. I’m not sure if it’s burnout or ennui or just the feeling that you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. 

The other day I backed into the garage (insert your snide little comment about women drivers here and get over it). Husband said I knocked it off its foundation and it has to be fixed. So, what do we do? It’s a car accident—a collision—so should we claim it on our car insurance? If we do, our accident forgiveness discount will be canceled and we’ll end up paying more for insurance. Or should we just eat the cost and pay outright for someone to come fix it for us? Either way, we’re paying and we can’t be guaranteed that whoever comes to fix it doesn’t just do a hasty patch-up job. Husband says he can fix it. But he’s got 50 other things on his around-the-house to-do list (fix both cars, replace rattling attic fan, find out where the leak is coming from), and we can’t open the garage door.

We’re damned if we do and we’re damned if we don’t. There is no right answer. And that sucks. I want there to be an answer. If I have a choice there has to be a right choice and a wrong choice. But there isn’t. There never is. And we always end up getting screwed or having to do more work. Or sometimes there’s just no payoff either way.

My husband lost his job of 15 years last year. We were lucky; he got a good severance package with health insurance. He started a new job just as the insurance was running out. Unfortunately, his new job is a contract and he would have to buy into health insurance at a cost that was higher than Cobra of his old job. So we chose to continue with Cobra. But at the turn of the year, we got a notification that the Cobra price would be going up. Consequently, since I’m a full-time student now, we just paid the extra to have everyone put on the student healthcare plan. This, however, means we all have to interrupt the continuity of our care, and travel a ways to see new doctors and get our prescriptions.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could live our lives without having to make all of these mundane decisions constantly? If we didn’t have to game through all of these comparisons to see if there’s any way we could possibly come out ahead, when it inevitably either all evens out or we come out behind. Top that with everything that’s going on in the world and it makes a GenX-er not even want to open her eyes in the morning. This is decision fatigue to the max.

I recently asked my husband if there’s something wrong with us that we need to alter our state of consciousness at the end of the night with a couple or three or four drinks? Sometimes that’s all I look forward to at the end of the day. Life is not supposed to be like that, is it?

How is your life these days? Are you a GenX-er struggling with decision fatigue? Playing out every angle of every decision to see if there’s a slim chance you could possibly come out ahead? Tell me about it in the comments.

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