Every day we are faced with choices. We have the opportunity to do the Right Thing. Or the Wrong Thing. Either way, there will be consequences. The severity of those consequences and the determination of whether they are good or bad consequences rests squarely on the choices we make.
For example, today I was faced with several ethical dilemmas that required me to discern between good and evil.
It started with getting out of bed. History and Mothers tell us that getting out of bed early is prudent. Even Benjamin Franklin, AKA Poor Richard, exhorted: "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Despite it's singsongy excellence, this rhetoric has yet to take hold of my soul with the conviction that it should. Because in spite of every morning when I have been up before the sun, I am neither healthier, wealthier, or wiser. And some of the most profound learning I have done has happened in the wee hours, just ask anybody who has had to route the drunks from the bar at 3:30 AM. So I made the choice to stay in bed. The consequence of this action, directly, was an entirely cold house. I can easily cast blame upon the other four humans that reside here, since all of them had gotten out of bed and already left for school and my favorite child, NOONE had taken it upon herself to reload the pellet stove. My bad choice was overcome by my cold hands, which can't seem to get warm no matter how far under the covers I keep them. The only remedy was a hot cup of coffee.
The second ethical quandary that I faced today happened around breakfast time, which also doubled as lunch since I successfully avoided eating until after I had done MANY loads of laundry, made a slew of phone calls I had been putting off and finally got dressed. Just like most days in my closet, my refrigerator stared back at me with a BIG FAT nothing to eat. So I decided to just go without. Until the shakes set in, and then I ate a half pound of sharp cheddar cheese and some M&Ms, because this day, bad choices are the theme.
I went to work in the afternoon, and survived a lesson in evaluating the angles and types of triangles with a 9th grader, which very nearly made my head explode. Somehow we both survived and I came home and did more laundry.
Now it's almost dinner time. There are two important issues weighing on me. I have some green peppers that I really need to use up and planned on making chicken fajitas for dinner. Normally this sounds awesome. But today, being a cheese-and-chocolate themed day, I can't fight the craving for something hot and baked and gooey and cheesy and totally terrible for me. Once again, my hedonism championed over my frugal sensibility and the green peppers will probably meet their fateful demise in the compost. The trouble with green peppers is that I really don't like them in anything but fajitas. I can't stand them in soup or pizza, or even in the gooey cheesy green chile and chicken and rice bake that I am making instead of fajitas. I should just man up and put them in there, but the flavor... ugh. Does my dislike of green pepper outweigh the guilt of wasting them???? The second issue, which could directly correspond to the first, or at least make it easier to decide, is the fact that I have an EMT meeting tonight and I really can't start drinking wine until afterward. Or SHOULDN'T start drinking wine until afterward. If I put the green peppers in the chicken bake, can I have wine early? Like buying an indulgence...
Not that it really helps to not have wine before the meeting. Chances are I will fight to stay awake either way. We're going over musculoskeletal injuries, and I feel as though I have had enough of those for the week, thankyouverymuch.
All of the decisions we make are based out of our own personal value systems. For me, I value sleep, cheese and wine over prudence, weightloss and propriety. Like I said before, I am a hedonist. With all of the values that correspond. In addition to food and laziness, things that are important to me are family and friends. And I would even endure a wine-less Thanksgiving to be with the people I love. Sometimes those are the choices we have to make, and they teach us what it is that is truly important to us. On the mornings that I have work to go to, to pay the bills and take care of my family, I get out of bed. If I was married to a green pepper lover, I would put green peppers in stuff. And if being with my family meant no booze for the holidays, I guess I would choose that too. Or get really sneaky. (JUST KIDDING MOM! GEEZE.)
I know the things that are important to me. And most days I think I do pretty well at making choices. Obviously, we all make the Wrong Ones sometimes. I have yet to meet someone who never makes poor choices. And if you have, I would caution you to back away slowly, then run. Because bad choices make all the good ones sweeter. Little triumphs in life, that remind us that we are strong and we are sure and we CAN do the right thing. After 5 more minutes of sleep.