Life is a Series of Choices
A Blog by Anne Goldberg, The Savvy Senior (2021)
I remember back when I was in my 30’s I somehow came to realize that, no matter the situation I found myself in, there were always choices I could make given those particular circumstances. No matter what was happening. Divorce? Well, I saw nothing but happy opportunities when I made the choice to divorce my first husband. But choosing to divorce the father of my children was much more difficult, until his behavior was too egregious to excuse and the choice, although painful, was clear. But I always had the choice to stay with him. I chose not to. Some of my choices led to wonderful outcomes and some, not so much. But, whether or not I made the best choice, nonetheless I got to choose. That’s free will.
I recently had a conversation with my dear friend who suffers from terrible arthritis pain in her hands. I suggested she remove gluten from her diet for two weeks. Her reaction was “I have so few pleasures and I just love my bread and cake.” I understand completely. For now, the pleasure of the food outweighs the constant pain in her hands. “No problem.” I said, “You get to choose whether you want to live with the persistent pain or the momentary satisfaction of the food. It is absolutely your choice.”
Life hands us a series of choices from moment to moment and each of us gets to choose – what to think, what and who to be around, what to eat, to eat or not to eat, what to wear, whether or not to move on a regular basis and so on. You get to choose to be on medicines that beget other medicines to deal with the side effects of the first medicine and then maybe other medicines to deal with more side-effects, or… you get to choose to make lifestyle changes that offer the promise of fewer or, maybe even, no medicines at all.
When faced with a difficult situation, rather than dwell in the trauma and drama, really understand that you get to choose how you think about it and what you will do next. Viktor Frankl, a survivor of the concentration camps of Dachau wrote “Man’s Search for Meaning” after the war. He is quoted, “If we accept fatalism, that our circumstances define us, we are forever held captive to them… When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” And the way we change ourselves, is all about how we choose to think about any particular thing.
Be A Savvy Senior! Know that life is a series of choices. Take control and make choices that leave you feeling happy not crappy.