SAN DIEGO -- If you're Jon Lester, and the time has come to decide, maybe you sit across the kitchen table from your wife, Farrah, in your suburban Atlanta home and look at the list you've drawn up on your iPad.
Left side and right side. Pros and cons. Come back to Boston. Start anew in Chicago or San Francisco.
If you've looked at the list once in the past six weeks, you've looked at it 100 times.
There's the money, of course, but also the security of knowing that regardless of the choice you make, your great-great-grandchildren will be well provided for. You've said all along you wouldn't make the decision based on just money. You check that box on both sides of the ledger.
The comfort of the familiar, which you say has always mattered to you, a creature of routine.
The excitement of a new challenge, which doesn't seem quite as scary after the July trade to Oakland.
Playing for John Farrell, the best pitching coach you've ever had, and the man who pounded on tables to keep you from being traded when you were just coming into your own.
Playing for Joe Maddon or Bruce Bochy, two of the best managers in the business.
Living in Boston, which has embraced you as one of its own, though they gave you an earful during the chicken-and-beer fiasco.
Living in Chicago, which will build a statue of you next to Ernie Banks if you deliver a World Series.
Living in San Francisco, where your parents won't have to fly across the country to see you play and where they allow players to breathe.
Pitching to Christian Vazquez, a kid with a great future.
Pitching to Buster Posey, already one of the best around, who dropped by to tell you how much he'd love to be your teammate.
Playing for John W. Henry, the owner who came to your house twice in the offseason but also the guy who low-balled you in March.
Playing for Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, whom you already know, or for Brian Sabean, who on Monday night said the Giants only have eyes for you and aren't even looking at other free agents. That's quite the contrast to Ben Cherington, who on Monday night said the Red Sox are looking at 15 to 20 different pitching scenarios.
Playing in Wrigley Field, as iconic as Fenway, or AT&T Park, maybe the prettiest of the new parks and a friend to all pitchers. You've already proven you can handle the Wall.
Playing in the always loaded American League East. Playing in the National League, where you get to take every third inning off because most pitchers don't hit much better than you (0-for-41 lifetime).
Playing four-hour games in the Fens. Playing day ball in Wrigleyville.
Shouldering the load of being staff ace for either the Sox or Cubs.
Playing guitar with Clay Buchholz.
Playing guitar with Eddie Vedder.
Golfing at The Country Club in Brookline.
Golfing at Pebble Beach.
Finishing what you began in Boston, where you can become the winningest pitcher in Red Sox history.
Turning the page in Chicago or San Francisco, and trusting the saga will end with a plaque in Cooperstown.
Doing what's best for you.
Listening to what Farrah says is best for you and the family.
Choosing the Red Sox.
Choosing the Cubs.
Choosing the Giants.
And knowing that regardless of whom you choose, you can't lose.