I’ve been thinking a lot about choices lately. I’ve been reading that our lives are what they are because of the choices we make and while I want to shake my head and shout, ‘no! no! no!’ the fact is, it’s true.
We make certain choices for a lot of different reasons. We are influenced by our Faith, by our families, by what we want at the moment, by what we want down the road a piece. We make choices based on our relationships and friendships and what we want those to be. We choose for security, for happiness, for money, for health. But make no mistake, I am where I am because of the choices I’ve made, and only by making other choices can that change.
I hate my job. I despise it. It keeps my brain active but my body stagnant. I am surrounded by hate and discontent and a management that seems to thrive at making snap decisions, snap judgements and snap criticisms. But I can’t leave my job. I am trapped, right?
Many years ago I read a foreword to a book in which an old Ozark woman explains Free Will. She said that if you give each of 50 quilters in a room the same material, you will have 50 different quilts in the end.
Lloyd Alexander explained it in his book Taran Wanderer like a piece on a loom : If you are not happy with the design, you are the only one who can choose whether to continue with the design you’ve chosen and wear a cloak you hate, or whether to unravel it and start again.
And Mary Stewart’s heroine, in the book, Touch Not the Cat says : “We forge our own chains.”
So am I trapped?
Of course not. I can leave my job any day. I make good money and chose to use that money to help pay for my husband’s medical bills. To make up that kind of money in this area I would need two or three jobs. The job I have has generous vacation and sick time, and a not over-burdensome health care offering. That is not the case of most employers in the area.
I choose to stay. I stay because I feel that the need to get these medical bills under control is important. I choose to stay because I would have been fired from many other jobs having to take off the kind of time I’ve needed to care for my husband, mother, uncle, brother.
That doesn’t mean I can’t work on pursuing my dreams still. Not enough time? Pooey. You choose to watch TV. You choose to hang on FaceBook.
And I hear the buts. I say the buts often enough myself. In the end, when I take apart every one of those buts, I see the choice within. There are sometimes great challenges and certainly walls within which we must make our choices, and I am not trying to belittle that. We all live within our own gardens and our choices are made within our own set of circumstances.
But make no mistake, the things that make me unhappy are often situations that I’ve chosen, or chosen to accept.
Knowing this, understanding this has been liberating. Right this minute, I choose not to leave this job. I have begun taking steps to move my life in a new direction. I need to continue to make the choices that will see me into my new life, rather than just wringing my hands and saying how much I hate how my life is.
I have forged my chains, and I am the only one who can break them.