This month here on middleSage our topic of choice is “The Best Advice I Never Got”. We’ll be talking about the lessons we learned later in life, lessons that would have saved us a whole lot of heartache had we learned them earlier. In the spirit of “I wish I knew then what I know now”!
Today I’m talking about Choices. Specifically, the choices we make in our lives everyday.
I’m talking about the choices we have to make to prepare dinner, or the choices we make when standing in the closet each morning pondering what to wear.
I’m talking about the choices you make to achieve the highest state of happiness for that day.
My 11 year old grandson was staying with me for a couple of weeks and on one of our outings we were sitting in traffic. We watched a big truck pull into the intersection and get stopped by the back up right in the intersection. Our light was green, but nobody could go because the big truck was blocking our way. People began to honk, the truck driver started to unravel. He waived his arms around pointing to other drivers, flipped everyone off and became one of the horn honkers, himself. As we sat there several cars back, I looked at my grandson and OK, here’s a great opportunity to watch someone who is his own worst enemy. This guy is beside himself with anger. From several cars back we were in a perfect position to see the mayhem that was happening just a few cars ahead of us. All this, because of one choice. He could have waited for the next light to move into the intersection, but despite the backup he chose to move forward and take the chance. It’s pretty easy to see that traffic is bad and in all likelihood he wasn’t going to make it through the intersection and get stuck. And now, the truck driver is mad at everyone else…clearly, it was he who decided to enter into the intersection, clearly you could see the backup and when others began honking at him, his anger turned towards the drivers ahead of him.
As we sat in the car watching all of this, we talked about how one choice can turn you sideways with anger and impact so many other people.
In July, our theme here on middleSage was changing our behaviors – eliminating the negative behavior habits we held and focusing on our pursuit of happiness. The lesson that resonated with me after our Behavior Exchange Challenge was, I get to chose my behavioral habits. I can hold onto those that make me miserable, or I can change them and see if it makes me a happier person.
We turned over a new leaf and now after almost 4 months, some of these new behaviors are becoming habits. Positive choices instead of a negative reaction.
To be happy over being right. My husband has an expression he pulls out whenever we’re at odds over the latest piece of trivia we might be debating. “It’s not necessary for you to agree with me in order for me to be right”. He wins every time with that one.
To write my own story and not let the past be my author. My mother was an abusive, joyless woman who didn’t want this child in her life. That is not my story, it’s only a first chapter and I get to choose how my life turns out.
To focus on the good in life. There’s an expression I like, “that which you focus on gets bigger”. Dwelling on the everyday aspects of life (c’mon folks there are a lot of stupid people roaming the earth) that push my buttons or cause me to feel like my head will blow up right off my shoulders, is only giving the morons more space in my brain than they deserve.
To walk away from relationships that don’t foster a better me. I don’t believe in obligatory relationships. Family, friends, & co workers do not warrant a relationship. Be with the people that bring out the best, not the stress.
To give up control and have things turn out differently than I would have imagined. I am now surrounded by people who I love and trust. Different doesn’t equate to doom any more.
To stop giving what I think people are thinking of me so much space in my head and heart. Like Eleanor Roosevelt said – “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”
To assume positive intent. Another tip of the hat to my husband. He has a saying “It is safe to assume everything is OK until you hear otherwise”.
Echoing the byline we use here on middleSage, “If we knew then what we know now”! Life would have been SO MUCH EASIER had I realized this in my early years. All of these choices I get to make each day, were within my power all along, I just didn’t realize I had that kind of power. The power of choice. The choice is yours.
What’s the best advice you never got?