Making Choices – Duty or Dreams?

Brainerd, MN

I am writing this after just coming home from having a one hour, full body, hot stone massage. This wholly relaxed feeling is so foreign that some warped part of me  wants to do battle with the Peaceable Kingdom to return to my high strung, whacko, anxious feeling world. Obviously, I need to continue with my meditation practice.

Next Thursday, I will be at the 2016 Youth Summit. It’s an event that brings LGBTQ youth and allies together for leadership development, networking, and the chance to speak directly with legislators. The theme this year is Courage. Volunteering as a Room Monitor and Presenter Supporter at the event means taking time off from work. Deciding to do that required some back and forth thinking as I’m swamped at work and concerned that I’ve been and will be taking a lot of time off already for classes and travel.

The voice in my head that argues with such worries reminded me that so many times in my life I’ve put my job first, afraid of what might happen if I didn’t, since I rely on my job for health care and income – a pretty common dilemma. And yet, over and over I regret having chosen work over other things. I kick myself continually for the important things I’ve missed out on – like spending more time with my son.

So lately, when these choices come up, I ask myself how important the thing taking me away from work is to me. Is it very important to me as far as supporting my values? Does it mean helping or caring for people who are important to me? Do I see it as possibly changing the world for the better – improving the quality of life for someone?

I always feel silly or arrogant asking that last question. How important could any of my actions be in the bigger scheme of things? But then, isn’t that part of the problem we have in the world? We don’t realize our own power to make change. Or to do harm.

At this latter point of my life, more so than at any other point, I want to make good choices that are going to result in good things. I wish I would have made better choices sooner, but I’ll settle for doing so now.

This determination of what is REALLY important and what daily actions feed and fuel and grow that ‘thing’ is not as easy as one would think it would be. But living the life you want to live is a practice (like my meditation) that continues as long as you are living. There is no ‘arrival’ or completion except death. And I’m not sure that will be the end either.

dog walk by river

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  1. Love this so much. I understand all about wishing to have made better choices sooner … proud of you for getting that hour long massage, too!

  2. So good…love that you are having these conversations with yourself…because you should! As we age our field of vision grows…allowing this kind of deep introspection. My mom and I have these discussions all the time about life’s choices…and the last thing we need to do is get near the end and realize we didn’t take the opportunity to broaden our horizons. Big hug…

  3. Maery…gosh so true. We spend so much time striving in our lives. Maybe it is the gift of age that tells us to take that trip we’ve always wanted to, or spend more time with loved ones…paint more and not worry so much. Yes, wish I’d gotten that earlier too.

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