The Power of Choice

23 Apr

Something extraordinary happened this morning, something I had hoped would happen but have waited years to witness. Today I woke up earlier than I would have liked because I went to bed way too late last night. I stepped on the scale and saw a weight that was not the one I’d hoped I would see. I brought the overflowing laundry basket downstairs and started a load. I emptied the dishwasher and looked around at my house that has been neglected this weekend because we’ve been away from home so much. I realized that nearly every area of my life could use some improvement in some way or another, but then I realized something amazing. I realized that in spite of all of that, or maybe because of it, I feel fantastic.

At first it seemed strange that with so much on my plate, and with me being “behind” in so many areas I want to improve, that I could feel so good. Then I realized something else. I realized that even though my life isn’t where I want it to be, I know how to get where I want to be. I know the steps to success for me. I just have to follow them. So why haven’t I? In some areas, I know exactly why. My weight is where it is because this week we’ve had two birthdays, one of them being mine, and I’ve let myself enjoy foods I usually avoid because I know they add weight. In my home, I’ve chosen to have a lot of fun this week and weekend. In my spiritual practice, I’ve stepped away from a routine that was beginning to feel a bit stifling and revamp. In all cases, I know that I’ve just taken a pleasant side trip in the journey of life, and for me that may be the greatest revelation of all.

You see, in my younger years, I wanted a huge house and tons and tons of money and a full walk in closet full of clothes and trips and cars and stuff and stuff and more stuff. I thought those were the trappings of success and, in turn, the trappings of being happy. Guess what? They’re not. Don’t get me wrong. I love having a nice home, money, good clothes, traveling, cars that run well and some of the other stuff of life. The point is that none of these things will ever make you happy. I know some very wealthy people and some very poor people who are happy. I also know some wealthy people and some poor people who are unhappy, depressed and thoroughly miserable. It’s not the money or the stuff that makes anyone happy, it’s the decision to be happy that is important.

Today, I am awed by the fact that I live in a country and in an era that allows me to choose how I pursue happiness. It’s not just a freedom; it’s a fundamental right. I live in a country of extraordinary opportunity, where everyone can get a free education when so many women in this world have no way to be educated. I can choose my profession, what clothes I wear and who I will marry or if I will marry. I can vote. I can travel unattended. I can make my own money, and I can be whoever I want to be. In our world, especially as a woman, that is no small thing.

So, this week, as I return from a week of “making merry” to the obligations I’ve willingly taken upon myself, I will do my best to remember that having the choice is a gift. I will do my best for all the women who cannot choose. I will make a choice to remember and honor those who wish they could be in my situation. I will do my best to choose wisely, and if you happen to hear me whine or complain, I hope you will choose to remind me of what I’ve written today. I also hope that you will choose to revel in your choices and if you need to change your choices to get to that point, do it, and do it quickly. You deserve to choose happiness and I hope you will. Thanks for being you and have a great day!

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