Contrary to what the titles of this and a previous post may seem to imply, I don’t actually hold a grudge against pizza. In fact, I’ve very much enjoyed the last I-don’t-know-how-many slices of pizza I’ve consumed, and I look forward to enjoying my next I-don’t-know-how-many slices. The distinction here is that the number of slices I’ve actually eaten has not been even close to the total number of slices I’ve had the opportunity to eat: even when presented with as many slices as I’d like for the low price of zero dollars, I’ve consciously opted for less free pizza in my life.
Whereas the aforementioned prior post was rather metaphorical in nature, this one is much less so: there have been several times in recent memory where pizza was brought in for a late afternoon or early evening work meeting and I decided not to partake in any of it. In a similar vein, I recently attended a presentation that concluded with a reception containing tables of sandwiches, kabobs, sushi rolls, brownies, cookies, salads, drinks, fruits, and almost certainly more assorted foodstuffs I didn’t even notice at first glance… and I turned them all down.
Sure, many of these foods don’t fare very favorably on the “this is a perfectly healthy dining choice” scale, and I do try to keep a clean diet. But on a deeper level, my decision not to partake in any of these opportunities for free food stems from a desire to remain intentional in my actions. The urge to snap up free stuff is strong: it drives me to eat when I’m not hungry, to eat unhealthily when I desire a healthy diet, to acquire when I’m trying to minimize, to delay when there’s work to do… to make instinctual and unintentional actions while I strive to lead an intentional and deliberate life.
Just because something is there doesn’t mean it should be consumed, used, or even considered for that matter. “Free” things incur a cost, and the currency required to pay for them can be deviously difficult to quantify in the moment: how do I value my time, my attention, my space, my health? Living a meaningful life with less means making decisions based on intention rather than on whatever happens to be hanging around… even if it’s delicious pizza.