Saturday, May 9, 2009

Choices, Decisions and Considerations

I have a great cup of coffee, have stretched the soreness out of my knee and am planning a day of things I want to do and things I need to do. It's all good.

This week was an interesting one in several ways. After months of being very good at making exercise a priority, this week I only walked twice and danced once. And I felt sluggish and out of sorts as a result. But it made me consider the idea that everything is a choice. I know this, it's not a revelatory moment. Every day we choose a hundred times before we even leave the house. What to drink, whether to breakfast, whether to read the news or browse The Onion for humor, what to wear and with which shoes - a series of choices.

It occurs to me that some people, perhaps many people, often recognize those tiny decisions as "choice" but don't recognize that each day we are remaking our life decisions, too. We are all choosing, each one of us, every day that we remain in our job, our city, our house, our relationships, our routines. Routines, after all, are only a set of decisions that we made once and decided not to rethink. Habits are ingrained routines - but all habits began as choices. Maybe 'recognize' is the wrong word. Consider might be better. We tend to see the life decisions as done deals, and the fact is we can rethink and remake any one of them at almost any moment.

This means every single day I choose to be where I am, doing what I am doing. Even those things that feel compulsory are choices - it's just a question of accepting consequence. For me, a hyper-responsible woman living in a world that rewards that particular set of choices with an ever increasing set of responsibilities, this is a very clarifying idea. As my friend Ms. Mo says, some people have heavier donkey burdens to bear. I think a corollary to that is the fact that some people make choices that add weight, and sometimes those choices are not recognized as choices.

Choice is freedom, and freedom is good.

Today I'm choosing to take a walk, work on some domestica and errands, maybe plant some flowers, practice my bellydance and read.

Be well!

~ plk

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Checking In

If you're reading this, I want to thank you for checking in when I've been so long absent. These posts give me balance when I need it, so I'm going to try, again, to keep making them.

You know what makes me impatient? (That was rhetorical, no need to post a list....I'm actually a very strange combination of very patient and rather impatient.) People who say they are bored. This makes me impatient. Seriously - I have always had a hundred ways I wanted to spend each day, all vying for my attention and focus. I have a hundred stories I'd like to write, a hundred books I'd like to read, a hundred places I'd like to roadtrip, a hundred meals I'd like to prepare, a hundred (okay a dozen or two) people I'd like to spend the day with, a hundred hikes...

Please. Bored? Get out of my sight. So, given that, here is what makes me laugh, ruefully: I know how I need to fill my days to make my soul sing, I know how I need to structure my days if I ever hope to write prose worth reading, I know when I need to exercise to keep myself calm and focused and happy - and yet. Do I do these things? I do not. Instead, I let the world's clamor for my attention distract me from myself, and as a result I am less happy, less effective and less filled with the joy of a life being lived. Bah.

That's what is on my mind today. Babysteps to find that structure and focus are what I'm trying now. Wish me luck.

I apparently never posted the fact that I have braces. Hunh. Well, I do. I've had a gap forever, and it became crooked....and so now I have braces because the very charming and smart orthodontist didn't pressure me, simply confronted me with logic and "the right thing to do..." language. Also he reads literature, so I was sold. And, honestly, he and his office manager are bright spots of warmth and normalcy in the crazy life I've been leading of late. So while I dislike the pain and absolutely LONG to bite into something that isn't cut into small pieces, I'm going to be pleased with the result and I'm going to count the opportunity to meet the good doctor and the lovely Michelle among the gains for the pain.

My garden is beginning to take my energy and time again - and the lack of effort I put in last summer and fall is showing in the lackluster look this spring. I'd planned to hit the dirt this weekend and work a billion pounds of compost into the beds, but instead it rained and instead I cleaned and organized indoors.

I'm avoiding the topic of work. Let us simply say that it is too large a proportion of my life at the moment. And I work with fabulous people who are in the same boat, and we are all trying to find a way to balance it. I think we will.

I'm teaching on Monday nights this semester, and while that seemed great when I first saw the schedule, I've had a difficult time because so many of our university holidays are on Monday. We lost several weeks of class, so the class has been in a bit of a makeup mode all semester. Only a few more weeks and we'll see how they do! But teaching reminds me to read my favorite stories. When I do that, I remember why it is that a story like Dubus' "A Father's Story" is so important in the world.

The Couch to 5K plan was going swimmingly until my knee began to bother me, and that led me to the foot doctor/knee doctor, who concluded that I have either an overdeveloped quadricep or an underdeveloped hamstring from biking so much., the direction is to run VERY SLOWLY to build the hamstring. Argh. I hate running slowly. So much that I want to not bother and just go back to my walking routine. Except I am too stubborn. My bellydance class is now much more fun - we have more women, the sad/cranky/angry woman left the group and a bunch of fun and energetic new women joined, and it is just a lot more fun now. I missed class ONCE, and came back to news that "we" might be performing at an event in July. Now....I've always said I wouldn't perform, this is just for fun, just for me, just to make myself at least look with kindness on my abdomen. But it has turned into something else, I think. It's the first "group" I've been a part of that was not about debate, speech, drama or singing. It's a performance where none of my verbal skills or IQ points matters a bit. It is a celebration of women's bodies and of movement. And in some ways this is the same impulse making me want to run a 5K race, or train for a sprint triathlon - I want to test myself in a different way. So, maybe I will do it. We'll see.

Miss Allison, if you read this please know that I'm thinking of you and that I wish I'd thrown caution to the wind and bought the damned ticket. I SO wish I could hug you on your day.

It is spring, and we are in the season of unfettered growth, of plants bursting nearly fully formed from the soil. Harness some of that energy!

Let the priorities rise.