Maribeth Wilder Doerr

Shades of Healing ~ Creating a Wholehearted Life

Gratitude Month – Day 15 – Choices

on November 15, 2010

When we moved to Reno an eon ago from San Diego, I was not a happy camper.  My husband made this decision without consulting me – just sprung it on me that we were moving and that was that.  I had lived away from my family of origin for ten years (which was a good thing at that time), and now that we were all together again and enjoying each other, I was not thrilled to be yanked away.  In fact, I was so angry about it that I pouted for an entire year.  My sweet husband gave me the space to do just that.

I even went to a support group for people upset with changes in their lives.  The social worker put my situation to me this way . . . I had two choices when my husband told me about our move.  I could stay in San Diego close to my parents and an hour away from each brother.  This choice meant  I would be separated from my husband (because he was going no matter what, thinking this was the career opportunity of a lifetime) and my sons would be without their father.  Or, I could leave San Diego and move to Reno and keep my marriage and my family intact.  The bottom line was, what was more important?  Staying in perfect weather or keeping my new family intact?  That’s a no-brainer when you put it in that perspective.

I had never thought about having had a choice in this.  My husband was taking a new job, and we were moving.  It didn’t occur to me to say no, and it didn’t occur to me to stay without him.  Why?  Because I knew in my heart that keeping my family together was more important than anything else.  And yet, I blamed him for this move, accusing him of forcing me to go.  I was not kind to him.  But truly, the reality is exactly what the social worker mentioned; I had choices.  I may not have liked either of them, but I still had choices, and I did make one, consciously or not, when we headed north.

By the time we’d been here a year, I realized we could be happy anywhere as long as we’re together.  I changed my mindset and the rest is history.  I’m still not in love with my town, but I have 20 years of happy family memories here so that makes it rather special.   For now, I choose to focus on the good things I have in my life rather than what I don’t, such a different address!

No, my gratitude for today isn’t for Reno (maybe someday!).  It’s for choices.  I’m grateful that in most cases, we have choices.  Of course, I didn’t have a choice in losing my first baby at 20 weeks.  I didn’t have a choice being born female or on May 14.  But just as my moving to Reno story tries to explain, we usually have more choices than we realize.  We can CHOOSE to be happy, or we can choose to be miserable and complain.  We can choose to be nice, or we can choose to be nasty.  We can choose to ignore the guy who cuts us off in traffic, or we choose to be in a angry mood the rest of the day.  We can choose a different perspective when we feel cheated or misused.  We can choose to love instead of hate.

I’m not saying we should choose to be doormats and let the world walk all over us.  But we CAN choose an attitude of loving kindness when we confront people.  We can choose to be the positive example rather than the excuse for ugliness.  Think about it . . .

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