Posts Tagged "choices"

Good Decisions | Think Now to Be Proud of Your Choices Later

tough decisions ahead make good choicesDear Kid,

It’s Sunday morning. Dad is out weeding the Back Forty (feet, not acres). Booker is lying in the grass supervising. I’m hoping that we’ll have tomatoes before November this year, but given past experience and when the seeds went in, I’m not taking them off the grocery list just yet.

It is going to be brutally hot today, and no one has figured out how to air condition three feet around me. (You are free to steal my idea of a personal outdoor portable air conditioner, develop and market it, and keep your mother in the style to which she would like to become accustomed.) I’m toying with the idea of going out and working in the gardens anyway, but I’m leaning more toward attacking in-door chores. I thought about starting to clean out my closet, but I don’t think I’ve had all the right shots so that’s going to have to wait until I get full haz-mat gear.

Important point: it is not possible to do everything.

It is possible to do a lot, it is probably possible to do more than you think you can, but it is not possible to do everything. Living means making choices (although to be clear, it is not a choice to spend all day watching TV today).

As hard as I try, I have not managed to clone myself or be in two places at once. If anyone ever figures that out, I guarantee it will be a mom. And so we choose. We divide and conquer. We make the best decisions we can in that moment. (At least, we hope we do.)

At college, you will have to make choices. To take This Class or That Class. To go to dinner or nap. To meet with a study group or hang out with friends. To do a little work daily or try to catch up all at once. Soup or salad.

Some choices are easy. Some seem easy but have far-reaching consequences.

It’s your choice. Make it a good one.

In my experience, the more you think in advance about who you want to be and the kind of choices you want to make, the more likely you are to make choices you are happy with.

So take a few minutes, now, during college orientation, during the first week of school (or all of the above), and think about what you want to be during the next four (or so) years, about how you want people to describe you, about what you want to experience and what you don’t want to go through.

Here’s to choices you can look back on with pride.

Love, Mom


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Some People Are Unhappy—Their Miserableness Isn’t About You | Choose Happy

There are some people who always seem angry and continuously look for conflict.Dear Kid,

Some People Are Unhappy—Their Miserableness Isn’t About You

According to Wikipedia, Gilbert & Sullivan’s Princess Ida satirizes feminism, women’s education, and Darwinian evolution, which were controversial topics in conservative Victorian England.

According to me, Princess Ida is about smart women, cross-dressing, and cranky royalty in the form of King Gama. The best part of the operetta (imho) is when King Gama sings:

Oh, don’t the days seem lank and long
When all goes right and nothing goes wrong,
And isn’t your life extremely flat
With nothing whatever to grumble at!

(The recording for your listening enjoyment:)

This is particularly useful for singing to small children who are particularly grumpy. (Yes, it has been sung to you. If you don’t remember, that probably means either you haven’t been very grumpy lately or I’m a rotten mother for not inflicting more Gilbert & Sullivan upon you. Or possibly both.)

The POINT of all this is that I have been thinking about grumpy people today and wondering why some people seem happier when they are unhappy. There are people who seem to simply relish the misery and disappointments in life. Don’t get me wrong—I know unfortunate things happen and we can’t just ignore that. But I don’t understand the people who feel the need to inflict their misery on others. Especially when “their misery” isn’t even really theirs.

I was talking with someone earlier today–her life is just a big ol’ bag of drama. Drama with her brother’s life, one family member causing drama with another family member, drama between two neighbors, drama between two colleagues…you get the point. None of these really have anything to do with her directly; she has chosen to take on the burden of the stress. I should explain that she is not observing or commenting on the situations–she owns them. It is a habit with her. Once one drama/tragedy/problem is solved, another one always seems to pop up. There are always multiple “catastrophic”  situations in her life. And she generally shares them. At great and gory length.

It’s not obvious (at least it’s not obvious to me) why she wants to “own” all of these problems. Perhaps it makes her feel more important; perhaps it’s a control thing; perhaps she just likes wallowing in the misery of it all. What I do know is that her involvement in many of these situations is a choice. She is choosing much of the stress and choosing to respond to it in a very involved sort of way. The stress of it all causes her to frequently lash out in ways I don’t think she intends.

About a million years ago when I was in high school, I worked at Wendy’s. I remember distinctly one evening when I was asked to wash pots in the back. I was at the sink, grumpiest person on the planet, talking in my head about how miserable life was, when the restaurant got busy and I was called to work at the drive through window. Because I was talking to people, and because it was my job to be cheerful, I pretended I was happy. Funnily enough, in just a few minutes, I WAS happy.

Yes, “ick” happens. But often you can choose how you respond to it.

Hope you are choosing a happy day.

Love, Mom

Bonus: If You Give Me Your Attention (also from Princess Ida). This is the one where he sings, “Yet everybody says I’m such a disagreeable man, and I can’t think why!” It seems appropriate, so I’m including it.

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