Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Fill in the blanks:

I chose __________________.

I have chosen to _______________________.

I choose to _______________________.


I was walking down the road the other day feeling kind of grumpy about having to pick up more groceries, cook more dinner, whatever it was. You know the feeling. Like you wish you were living in a parallel universe without the constant T0-Do list. And all of a sudden it hit my like a bolt of lightening: I chose this life. I chose the man, the place, the children, the work (and often lack thereof). I chose the precise mix of mess and beauty, urban insanity and country calm. Luck played a huge part in much of what I have, yes, but most of what I am inclined to grumble about is precisely what I wanted. And what I want.

And right then and there I felt joyous. Yes, joyous, as if bliss had been beamed down by the sun. Realizing that I had chosen what I was experiencing, right then, allowed me to stop resenting it and to be thankful for it. Thankful for the arm-ache that accompanies carrying your groceries home. Thankful for the chance to cook another meal for my family. Thankful for the flexible mix of unemployment and employment that I enjoy. Thankful for the bills to pay, the messes to observe before whisking away, the warm bodies to kiss before going to sleep. Thankful for the chaos and the conflict and the craziness.

Seems to me we (women, mostly) have a tendency to waste a lot of time whining about stuff that—if we were honest—is the direct or secondary result of a choice we've made. And we criticize the choices that others of us make, while we're secretly resenting our own. In a way, it's just a really mentally unhealthy sort of immaturity. We seem to forget the role that our choices play in our day-to-day realities.

And then I thought about our rather limited usage of the phrase "pro-choice." And how we all ought to live our lives in a truly pro-choice fashion. Accepting our own choices. Investing in the rightness of them, or consciously (and conscientiously) choosing otherwise if they were in error. And respecting without endless and acid discussion the right of other women to choose something for themselves that is different from what we've chosen.

Whatever. Maybe this is too simplistic. But accepting my own choices changed the color of my mood from something tending toward gray to something tending toward a lovely bright shade of greeny yellow. And I realized that I'd do well to repeat the same exercise a little more often.

I choose to remember what I have chosen.


  1. I just left this post, but I already have to comment on it. I want to clarify that I'm not saying that my life is good b/c I chose it. Or that people who are miserable necessarily chose their misery. We don't choose health. We don't choose cancer. We don't choose unemployment. We don't choose recession. We don't choose death and loss and car accidents. All I'm trying to focus on is the stuff that I did choose. That's all. If it came off smug or insensitive to people who are really suffering from things that have nothing at all to do with choice, I apologize in advance from the bottom of my heart. -Charlotte

  2. What you wrote is so completely true. And you said it - wrote it - perfectly. And I wouldn't even clarify it. Because understanding that life is a choice -- that the path we go down isn't predestined or forced upon us (and I'm not speaking of those in horrific conditions, like Darfur, like poverty, just as you aren't) but ultimately made of the decisions we chose along the way. We do - most of us, and most of us as women - do seem to waste a lot of time whining and wishing 'things were different.' As if that invisible prince or lottery ticket or perfect life will just fall into our lap. As if things could be so much grander IF....IF whatever. And life goes on around us and we refuse to take part. I love what you said -- pro choice. It's also that wonderful prayer -- grant me the power to see the things I can't change, the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. That's our choice. And our wisdom. --- janny

  3. No need to apologize for anything. I think we do need to take stock of what we have, and the choices we have made along the way. We make so many small (and we think insignificant) choices throughout our lives that define who we are as human beings. Sometimes the most difficult choices are, in the long run, the ones that are morally correct....and therefore no choice at all.
    I still think that at the end of the day when you look at yourself in the mirror,truly know that you have done your very best, then all is right in the world.....