Friday, May 30, 2008

Older and Getting Wiser...I Think

Karen over at Midlife’s a Trip, had a post the other day called Choices. It really resonated with me. She was recounting a crocodile tearful episode with her young niece at the zoo that was resolved by giving Peanut a choice: to either go see the hippo, or go home. Peanut chose the hippo.

It seems to me that one of the big benefits of reaching midlife is about how I look at choices.

The first change is that I see now that I ALWAYS have a choice. It may feel like I don’t, it may be the hardest, worst, suckiest choice in the world, but it’s still a choice. Alas, those kind are usually the ones that require telling someone something that I’m pretty sure will hurt their feelings or trigger them to feel bad. But, whatever it is I don’t want to tell them is having a big impact on me somehow.

So that would be called stuck between a rock and a hard spot.

Nonetheless, despite that I may be stressed, upset and frightened, I can’t really say, “I had no choice, I couldn’t tell him that he makes bad financial decisions and I’m going to open an account of my own so he doesn’t have access to my funds. I would feel mean.” That, even though I have plenty of evidence to back me up AND because I’m resentful and angry, I am passive aggressively paying him back in ways that are mystifying to him. But it would be mean to clear up the mystery about why I’m being such a b----h to tell them what’s on my mind.

Right, unh hunh..

I still agonize over those kinds of things, and I still may shrink away from doing it because I'm just not up for it. But, I never say I don’t have a choice. I at least opt out fully realizing that it’s mine to own, not the other person’s or the Universe’s, or whoever's 'fault'. And then I try really hard to quit bitching about it :)

The second part to that is when I am faced with a difficult dilemma and I really really don’t want to do what I know I need to do, I’ve gotten much better (not perfect mind you) at just dropping my resistance to it, and just doing it. It’s so much easier to just accept that it needs to be done, and do it without all the wasted energy of resisting it every inch of the way.

Geez, resisting makes it twice as bad and it doesn’t change a darned thing. Better to stop crying, buy an ice cream cone to make it feel a little better, and go on to see the hippo.

Even Peanut realized the wisdom in that.


Hill Country Hippie said...

How refreshing to hear someone own up to all that. I am so fed up with people who continually blame their sucky lives on bad luck, rather than bad choices. But then, I have no room to talk. I have never made that hard choice to confront them and say "Put on your big girl panties and deal with it, or quit your moaning!" That would be mean.

Allison said...


It is a hard one to learn, isn't it? It's certainly something I've struggled with. But, I'm a firm believer that I can't control what life dishes up, but I can choose my response.

There are always bothersome people, crummy rules, policies, and institutions, and the rest.

One question I've learned to ask my self is "OK, that sucks...who am I going to be in the face of THAT?"

Dang it! Wouldn't it just be easier if everyone and everything around me bent to my will?? :)

When pigs fly....

Karen said...

You know the thing I've found is that I have a clear line of sight to the right choice when I listen to my intuition. It's only when I don't that I totally f#*k up. One of my worst was knowing the day before my wedding that I shouldn't marry the guy and being too chicken to follow my gut reaction. Big mistake but one I can't blame on anyone but me. Karen

Allison said...

Oh I know, why do we do that?

I did that going to work with a friend...a decision my gut was telling me was not smart. Sure enough, it was a disaster and loss of friend to boot.

The good news is I learned I better listen more closely when my gut was screaming at me!

I guess it's the fire that tempers the steel, darn it!