Things To Choose

This has been a summer of choosing things. And not always in a good way, like shopping for the BEST pair of shoes. More like the hard stuff, like feed the kids, or get another tattoo. That kind of thing.

All summer has been full of it. Choosing whether to suck-it-up and fight a little longer for one last breath of a dying marriage, or "cut the rope that kept you hanging from such pitiful amounts of hope"? Choosing whether to have the things I want, or be the person I am supposed to be. Choosing between having someone to be buried next to, or being able to breathe through the days and nights and maybe, hopefully, someday, cry a little less. A lot of the choices were hard things. With potential for greatness or despondence on either side. But not all of them.

There were good choices too, that were a win either way. Like Beer, or Wine? Or maybe Crazy Awesome Bachelorette party at the beach or my Next Avett Concert?  And no brainer choices, like forgive and love vs. carrying grudges and isolation. And the choices of Which Song to sing (or maybe NOT to sing) at karaoke, and whether to karaoke with new friends, or old friends, or cousins, or the ultimate option: ALL OF THEM!

I had to choose about my future. Based not on my past. Not on my fear. But on hope. On the future I know that I CAN have, with my kids. Kids that are getting old, by the way. I have had to choose to fight against them as they struggle alongside me to survive, or fight with them against the common enemy of fear and shame and guilt. I have had to choose to let go, instead of hanging on tighter. To let Somebody Bigger Than me fix all of the things that I was Pretty Sure I had handled, but didn't. And I am still choosing. Every morning, to wake up, and not suffocate in the Terror Of Choosing wrong, but to make the best choice I can see. Sometimes it's the one that doesn't make sense. Sometimes it's the only thing that makes sense. Sometimes it comes from outside of me, and sometimes the choice comes screaming from my core without question or indecision.

Like whether to slap my nephew's hand when he's picking his nose mid-wedding, or take the Best Picture Ever for future embarrassment. Or staying up til 2 AM three nights in a row, or just resign myself to Oldness. (Never. Or my name is Captain Hook.) Go play soccer with the high school team or milk the sore back excuse (I have never so gladly regretted back pain!)? Deal with the growing mountain of trash or try to fix the washer? Mop the god-forsaken floors or mow the ever-loving lawn?    Mend the fence or find the floor of my bedroom? Cook dinner, or delegate? Finish the bottle of wine, or... um, nahhh. No choice there.

I was talking to Somebody Sometime this summer, and we were discussing how you should respond to Real Crap when it happens to you in life. Like when your dream for a Happily Ever After is smashed into bits by a Big Jerk Who Lied, and you're only 19 years old. What do you do to fix that? How do you make the right steps to avoid the wrong steps later and how do you choose the right pathway out of that hell? I remember that point of choosing in my life. And for awhile, I tried choosing Out. I tried to give up. To die. I wanted to. But I was terribly unsuccessful, like with lots of things in my life. So then I changed my mind. I re-chose. And I decided to Kick Life in The Ass. Because I can. Because the alternative is just, well, depressing. And maybe it's been a long road of small and large choices along the way to all of that kicking, but I am still doing it. And I am still determined that I will come out on top of all of this choosing. I will win. And so will my kids.

I mean, how can these monsters NOT win?

Maybe for the moment I have chosen loneliness. And maybe I have finally come to the point where I can choose the thankless craft of parenting over My Next Avett Concert, or that tattoo that I have been craving since June. And maybe tomorrow I will wake up and realize I have been choosing all wrong, and start over again. But at least I CAN. Everybody CAN. That's the beauty of life, and of choosing. And what makes us the teeniest bit better than the fruit fly that cannot avoid drowning in my wine, compelled by instinct. (not that I don't relate to that specific instinct....)

All around me the echoes of my choices rain down on me. The memories and songs and sounds and tastes of the past, recent and distant. And it is a bittersweet thing. And I am thankful for every step of it. Every turn and twist and choice. I am thankful for how they have shaped my soundtrack, and my taste buds, and enriched this Ass-Kicking life. Even if they aren't still here right now, and who knows which options will come next, but I choose to be ready.

And for now, choose to listen to this...

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