Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Choose Your Path, Choose Your Problems


When I was still young and single and slowly wising up about the Truths of Life, I stumbled across a life-changing personal revelation after pondering whether or not I should break up with my then-boyfriend. My thought process went something like the following:

There isn't really anything wrong with [Boyfriend]. There's not really anything seriously wrong with our relationship together. So why am I wanting to break it off?

Answer:

I don't want the problems I can foresee us having.

In my life, I dated a lot of great guys--guys who were smart and attractive and compassionate and funny and driven. I am a better person myself because of many of the people I dated way back when.

But people aren't perfect, and every relationship eventually revealed to me the flaws of the other person--like the boyfriend who was fabulous with kids and beyond compassionate and caring for me, but who didn't have much direction or motivation for what his general life plan would be and who was generally content to just see where the tide took him. Or the boyfriend who was the opposite--SO motivated and driven that he had a hard time being flexible or spontaneous, and every minute detail had to be planned every single day.

These people were good people, but I could foresee issues down the road that I, for one, just didn't want to have to deal with.

So when I finally decided to choose Matt as my husband, I knew we'd have some things to work through (as all couples do), but they were issues I had chosen to be willing to work with.

And somehow, that makes all the difference when we're going through those issues.

This same life revelation has come back to me again recently as I am just a couple weeks away from walking away from my job.

I know many of the problems we'll soon be facing---an income that is severely lower than what we're currently at, the uncertainty of "where we'll be" over the next several years, and the fact that I will have to somehow still find ways to keep pushing myself as an individual while still devoting much of my time to caring for Raven. I know there will be many days when I am frustrated and feeling lonely for other adults to talk to and where I'll wonder if I've done the right thing by staying home (or if I'm just being driven crazy by it).

But I also know, based on past experiences, that when those moments come up, they will be easier to deal with because I can remind myself that I HAVE CHOSEN THEM.

The fact is, sometimes we let ourselves become a victim of our circumstances--we complain that we're upset about not making enough money or not getting enough time for ourselves or that no one appreciates us at work. But the fact is, we choose many of our circumstances, so, in effect, we have chosen many of our problems.

And when you look at it that way, it makes it easier to look at the large picture and remind yourself WHY you chose this path and to evaluate sometimes if it's still worth it for you (because it often will be).

The fact is that life will sometimes be hard, and you will almost always have some problem or concern or worry happening in your life.

But the other fact is, YOU make your decisions, so therefore YOU control your destiny (to a very large degree, anyway).

Sure, there are things out of our control---tragedy strikes, we get struck by a chronic illness, life doesn't go according to plan....

But much of our day-to-day life we DO control.

So a few months down the road, when I'm stressed out about finances or having a particularly rough day as a stay at home mom, I will simply need to remind myself--

THESE are the problems I've chosen. And I would choose them over the alternative again and again and again.

3 comments:

  1. Love this. Couldn't agree more.

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  2. Great thoughts! This is definitely something I will keep in mind over the next two years as I'm choosing major change. I'm quitting my full-time job to go to grad school. When I'm studying hardcore and would rather not be, I'll remember that I chose it. I'm choosing it so that 5 years from now I won't be in the same job I'm in now-one that won't financially support me, a single person, for the rest of my life.

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    Replies
    1. That's a choice I might make someday too if I ever decide to go back into teaching again. Good for you for having the courage and willpower to do that!

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