I first came across the word ‘barter’ in history class when I was thirteen. One of my favourite classes during secondary school was Junior Certificate History. There are only a handful of things I remember from the class, but I do look back fondly. That was the class where I discovered my love of history almost equaled my love for English. Although it didn’t quite reach the same standard in my mind, history is still a subject I hold dear to my heart today.
Collin’s English Dictionary defines the verb to barter as follows: to trade goods, services (etc) in exchange for other goods, services (etc) rather than for money. Another definition by the same dictionary simply defines bartering as haggling over the terms of such an exchange. I realise you may be curious as to why I am bringing all of this up even going as far as to find two dictionary definitions. Well it is time to come clean: I have a confession to make.
I have been bartering with myself to ensure I am writing!
Considering all the effort I have put in to ensure I wouldn’t resume my procrastination, I have been failing to find the motivation to write over the last week. Without giving myself a way out by means of excuses, I feel I may have over done it slightly. I spent twelve hours writing last Saturday and struggled to form a coherent sentence Sunday morning. My bartering started small. I offered myself rewards if I wrote even a few sentences until I got to the point where I began congratulating myself when I had five new words on my page!
I imagine I am not the only one who has bartered with themselves before. Perhaps a bar of chocolate waiting for you after the gym so you actually work out? How about a new dress for doing something you never wished to in the first place? As you remember your own versions of self bartering, I can’t be sounding all that bad!
Truth is, we all do it. The reasons behind why may be few but it all boils down to one prominent feature, in my opinion: If we don’t want to do something, we generally have to reward ourselves to do it. I find the older I get, the more familiar I am becoming with the bartering method in life.