Grocery shopping is my self-imposed obligatory contribution to our monthly household budget. At 28, I, together with my sisters (31 and 26 of age --although divulging their age is tantamount to bloodshed.. mine, that is) still live with my parents. Staying in the house we grew up in, saves me from paying rent and bills other independently-living young adults my age have to take care of. I do have plans to move out eventually. When I turn 30 or when I get married (That's THE rule -- once you're married, you're out of the house. A rule yet to be implemented since the three of us are all still single. And apparently, very satisfied). Whichever comes first. Until then, I consider myself blessed. So, shelling out a few thousands off my meager salary is the least I can do to give back something to my ever-gracious and ever-generous parents.
I took the usual trip-to-the-grocery routine the other day. It was an errand I gladly do. Grocery shopping to me is like spa for others. It's my personal stress-reliever. There's something about pushing the cart through the vast expanse of the store and filling it with goods that is so inexplicably soothing. At least to me. Perhaps, it's the sense of exercising my power to choose that thrills me so.
I follow a system of shopping for groceries. The essentials first, then the "luxury" items after. Prioritize! Although that is not often the case. Most of the time, I do get distracted and find myself filling my cart with more non-essentials than I intended to buy. I didn't have to buy that pack-of-six Nestle fruit selection yoghurt, but I did just because it's my favorite dessert in the whole wide world and it says on its package that I would save Php 10 as opposed to buying them separately. The feat becomes more exciting as I choose between brands. Often times, brand loyalty wins over my sense of the practical. Nearing the cashier, I give a last glance at my load and quickly inspect the items in the attempt to do a last-minute weeding out before they reach a point of no return in the counter. I am a disgrace as an economist (maybe that's why I never pursued being one). Economic principles, well-meaning as they may be, were meant to explain consumer behavior, not to control it.
In the end, I have chosen. And I would have to live with that choice. Whether that means, having an excess dessert I regret buying or a sense of satisfaction knowing that I have made the right choice.
Life can be so much like a trip to the grocery store. Every corner awaits a decision to be made. Yes or no. Now or later. Wait or stop. Here or there. Leave or stay. We would have to choose one or the other. I would like to believe that life only offers two major choices: God's way or our way. And making the choice will depend on where you anchor your principles. I anchor mine in the reality of God in my life and in the wisdom of His word. But that does not guarantee that making choices would always be easy. Because often, if not most of the time, my stubborn self gets in the way. But thankfully, God always steps in.
I am in the process of coming down with a decision. I believe I have chosen God's way. But the road has diverged into two paths. Either way is a step of faith. I am praying still. And I am confident that whichever I choose, God has already gone before me.
Until I come to a decision, I will be taking trips to the grocery store, and perfect the art of making choices. And maybe, just maybe, I can redeem the economist in me. :)