Lani: Choice


I know this treads on Jenny’s hallowed happiness ground, but this week I’m focusing less on the happiness part of things (although I think that’s important) and more about the choice.

In my fiction classes, I teach that you can show readers who a character really is by giving that character a choice, and letting us watch him make it. Action isn’t what you do, it’s who you are, and every choice you make is action.

So this week, for fucked or fab, what choices did you make, and what did you learn from them?

42 thoughts on “Lani: Choice

  1. A choice that surprised me: I chose to follow up a neighbour’s suggestion of a house to rent in a small town ten miles away, in Wales. This is much further from Mum than I was considering, and I was surprised how excited I felt about the possibility. It turns out the house won’t work (fully furnished, so no room for my stuff; may only be available for six months; and no garden). But in the longer term I can see that emigrating to Wales, to a small town or village where there are more alternative people and creatives (like me), might be a good choice.

    I’m such a drama queen – I think part of my excitement was the story of the unlikely prospect turning out to be what really worked. But not this time.

  2. Kieran says:

    “Action isn’t what you do, it’s who you are, and every choice you make is action.”

    Wow!! Yes to this!!!

    I made a huge choice this week, and I learned that sometimes things are staring at you in the face for years and you don’t see them. Maybe you don’t see them for a good reason.

    I won’t regret how long it takes me to learn about myself. And I want to thank everyone in my life, including YOU, Lani, for helping me “see.”

  3. I chose to come to work today. What does that say about me? That I’m reliable? I have such a hard time getting through the end of the school year. I’m as bad as a kid in that respect.

  4. Maine Betty says:

    I chose to get out of bed at 5:30 because I was awake anyway. That is rare, but easier to do when then sun’s starting to come up.

    I chose not to go to the gym last night, despite having decided that I would earlier in the day.

    I chose to stop moping (because I didn’t go to the gym, which cheers me up. Yes, I know. WTF?) and start a painting. An apple. I had to set up a chair with a lap blanket on it, so the cat would have a nice place in the room to hang out with me. It’s going to be a great picture of a McIntosh.

  5. AuntieJB says:

    “I won’t regret how long it takes me to learn about myself.”

    This is a struggle for me. I am impatient with myself, expecting to be perfect the first time, every time.

    Kieran, I will keep this quote with me as a reminder to live in the moment and enjoy all the aspects of the learning process – be they fucked or fab!

  6. After Monday’s events, I chose to stop watching continuous coverage and further spiral into sadness and anger. I chose happiness Tuesday morning rather than feeling bad about commuting in a snowstorm to work. I allowed myself to mourn and feel sad about Boston, but the choice was mine whether to dwell and stay there or count my blessings.

  7. CateM says:

    I prioritized a bunch of story/theater/extracurricular things over applying for an internship, and I missed the deadline for the internship.

    Part of it is that I’m scared to put myself out there, which is not a trait I’m ok having. Part of it is that I didn’t really want the internship, and I desperately wanted to dive into the story/theater/creative stuff. Which is probably a sign, but not what my parents are going to want to hear, and probably not something that is feasible given the whole student loan things. So… choices that lead to more choices.

    I guess I’ll have lots of chances to chose my character in the next month. I know I should spin that in a positive way, but it just makes me tired.

  8. I was reading something yesterday – Upworthy I think, that said our brains are hard wired to dwell on the negative. You have to consciously decide to focus on the positive because saying “I won’t think about …” makes you focus on the thing you don’t want to think about.

    I have a lot of success with choosing to focus on the positive. As crappy as stuff gets, and it does, I don’t have to let it affect my whole life. Compartmentalizing is good!

  9. AuntieJB says:

    I chose to do a 30 minute yoga video to relieve anxiety in lieu of taking my anti-anxiety medication. Whodathunk it’d work so well?

    I chose to *finally* break open my vocal warm-ups CD and work on my singing techniques. This choice was motivated by my choice to worry about an upcoming choral concert.

  10. I chose to start using the treadmill in the development’s tiny gym, adding that to my Curves routine as I’d reached a plateau. This made me quit telling myself I don’t like to work out with the guys, to hell with the guys. If they don’t like seeing my jiggly butt they can choose a different time. : )

  11. Hallowed happiness ground? I think there’s room for everybody.

    I choose to get some work done. That makes me happy in about forty different ways.

  12. KimCz says:

    I chose to overhaul my desk which means I think I might be getting out of this funk I’ve been in for the last two years.

    My desktop is done, I am now working on carving out some space in the adjacent bookcase to add some magnetic whiteboard and cork board tiles. I want to get this WIP finished and I know that I need some visual cues and reminders to keep me in the story.

    Today, I am choosing to ignore the rest of the house so that I can get this done.

  13. Cindy says:

    I believe firmly in choices. I believe they come with rewards and consequences. I think when you choose, you need to move forward, don’t regret your choices. You can learn from them. But don’t waste time on something that can’t be changed.

    Yesterday I chose to move forward with the hysterectomy. I had my first Lupron shot to shrink my uterus and my fibroid. Now I’m waiting to get the call to schedule the surgery, but I want to do it later in the summer, build up a bit more vacation time, and schedule it around my employer’s vacation, my co-worker’s honeymoon, etc.

    I chose to not go to Mexico with my family, Hubby was not okay with accepting this generous gift, and that’s okay. And my vacation time will have to be used up on surgery recovery. We’ll save up and go with them another time.

    I’m choosing to focus on all the love I’m surrounded with. My husband just texted me to tell me that he loves me. My daughters are always supportive no matter what…they really should get more teen-angstsy. 🙂 Those are the best things in my life.

  14. I think the biggest idea(s) that has(/have) come to me over the course of the last few months and coalesced in the last week is that the action is the reward.

    I spend too much time with eyes on the prize and get bogged by the size or complexity of it. I become focused on perfect end-product and then send myself into a spiral of procrastination.

    New method:
    Action is the reward. A job done frees up time and energy for jobs I want to do more. Or social events. Or reading. Or writing. Or a new course I want to do.

    Exhortation: ACT!

  15. AuntieJB says:

    “…when you choose, you need to move forward, don’t regret your choices.”

    Wow! So much wonderful insight here today. This is another one I need to keep in mind.

  16. Office Wench Cherry says:

    I’m choosing to change the channel in my head. I had a really good session with my therapist on Monday and she gave me some good ideas as to how to handle one problem that I can use for others. Distraction from a bad habit can be a wonderful thing.

    And I’m choosing to focus my energies on working inside the house instead of bemoaning the snow outside. There is so very much snow but there are a lot of things I can do to make the inside of the house better so I have time for the outside when the snow is gone.

  17. I agree with Auntie JB that there is a lot of wisdom being shared here today.

    My past tendencies have been to focus on the negative, downplay the positive, and worry about the future. And give in to fear.

    Now that I have totally changed my life again, I’m changing that. I’m choosing positivity and happiness and contentment and action. When I chose to stay up too late last night, I did it knowing that, because today is the birthday of one of my housemates, it would be a lazy day for all and sleeping in wouldn’t be an inconvenience.

    I need to remember to focus more on the actions and the journey and the landscape rather than on the destination, because the destination can change and, for me, has done so over and over again. I’m going to focus on recovering my authentic self, the one I have set aside or brushed off or hidden in an attempt to get along and not make waves and fit in. I changed my name to be more like who I am. Now I need to continue changing my thinking and my actions.

  18. I’m all about choosing to be happy. Choosing to see the positive, even when your brain is saying there is no positive. But choosing the light really does make a difference.

    This week I chose to keep writing and believing this book would work out. And it’s finally coming together to the point that I got an idea for 2 more in the series. Not sure those will happen, but I’m still taking notes anyway.

    I’m also choosing to believe I can only do what I can do when it comes to my house. I’m here for the long term and things will eventually get done. Until then, we’ll muddle through.

  19. I choose to stop lurking in my own life. If I want a public life I have to be willing to put myself out there IN PUBLIC.

    (Now if I could just get Ron White out of my head saying, “drunK in pubLICK,” I’d be less afraid of how that’s going to turn out. 🙂

  20. I should clarify, I let a character in my WIP make a choice instead of imposing drama on her.
    My personal character makes choices all the time and I tend to respect those as well!

  21. Rebecca (Another One) says:

    I am trying to choose not to be a doormat anymore. Not everyone I know is happy about that. I can’t keep driving 1 1/2 hours before and after work to take care of my friend’s pets. Just because I used to do it doesn’t make me obligated to continue to. If she can’t accept me visiting only once a day, then she will have to find someone else to pet-sit before her next one-week vacation in June, or not go.

    Okay I caved on Tuesday for this one-week vacation, but she called in hysterics at 6:30 then 7:30 am. She said I misunderstood her agreement, which was going to be for her two week vacation in October, but her dog (who lives outdoors) was going to be dead soon and if I didn’t want her to ever go on vacation ever again that was fine, and how she couldn’t sleep the last two days because of this. Her husband was in the background trying to calm her.

    But I’m going to be very clear when she returns on Thursday, that June is once a day or not at all.

  22. AuntieJB says:

    Another option is boarding with a vet. But that’s not your responsibility. You should be responsible for your choices, not hers.

    Good luck!

  23. Rebecca (Another One) says:

    Thanks. Sometimes I start to wonder if I am being unreasonable. Then I read re fab and reading all you ladies I feel validated.

  24. Cindy says:

    You are not being unreasonable. I have 4 dogs. I would never expect anyone else to take care of them. I would never obligate somebody else to take care of them. Your friend’s pets are her responsibility, not yours. You have been extremely gracious and generous. Because of you she has been able to enjoy her previous vacations. Now she can make other arrangements. Do not blame yourself. She can ask other people, she can look into boarding them, she can try out different sitters between now and her trip. I hope she relaxes a bit.

  25. I chose to be happy and go wine-tasting with Husband instead of stressing about not getting the work done that needs doing while I’m here in CA with Grandboy. The nanny came today and we just took off, leaving Grandboy in her capable hands. Spent the day going from winery to winery on Tesla Road in Livermore–gorgeous scenery and wondrous wines. Had a picnic at one of them and bought some wine for Son and DIL that we’re hoping they’ll want to share while we’re here. All in all, a carefree day. I’m back to work now and hope to get this job finished up and sent to the client in the next couple of hours, but the break was quite lovely!

    It’s wrong to be on vacation, but still feeling urgent about work. Is it the fate of a freelancer or does everyone do this? Whether or no, it’ just plain wrong, don’t you think?

  26. Micki says:

    I chose to go to bed early this week, but it’s still not enough. First month of classes at work, new schedules, lots of elementary students, and my period hitting on the same week really is taking the starch out of me.

    Still, I’m probably better off than I would have been if I stayed up doing work, reading novels or watching TV.

    I haven’t done this in a long time, but I think I’m going to choose to take a nap over my lunch hour.

    On the other hand, other things are starting to stiffen up and take a definite shape, so it’s easy to choose happy. Tired happy, but happy.

  27. I need this reminder, particularly as I struggle right now with how much power to give away to a complicated, upsetting situation, along with how much of my time I devote to it too.

    This week for me is all about choosing to be happy, to have a positive attitude, and to trust in myself. I just said, “No More” to this situation tonight and that feels good.

    My WTF is that I’m tired of the lack of civility that I’m seeing all around me when people disagree. It’s truly amazing what people will say about others on the Facebook that they wouldn’t say face to face.

  28. Redwood Kim says:

    Well, I have taken care of other people’s dogs and vice versa, but an 3 hours of driving per day for two weeks? Is crazy. They can hire people to do that for them.

  29. Redwood Kim says:

    I chose to get up early. I chose to go to the gym today (hurray, me!) I chose to cook dinner.

    Now I need to choose to clean, because tomorrow the cleaners come and they need to be able to see the floor before they can vacuum it.

  30. I agree, Nan: you need to be a better employer, and insist you don’t do any work when you’re on holiday! Maybe you could leave your tools behind next time, just to be sure. You need breaks like this in order to work well once you’re back at work.

    It’s got a lot worse, of course, with modern technology. So perhaps you need to plan tech-free holidays. Then you can’t hound yourself. Take your watch off, and switch off the TV as well!

  31. German Chocolate Betty says:

    Hey, I have had dogs and cats for, well, seems like forever. I would never *dream* of asking someone to make that trek once a day, let alone twice. A doggy hotel (kennel, vet, whatever) is not all that expensive, plus the animals have others to play with (and in most cases, my spoiled babies have lost weight because they are playing more and they get no between-meal munchies, so I see it as “fat farm for the pooch” as well, sort of a side benefit!). And there are also petsitters out there. And petwalking/sitting services.

    Good pet owners take responsibility and do NOT abuse their friends like this.

    You are really too good. Say “no” the next time. For your own sake — and for the animals as well.

  32. German Chocolate Betty says:

    I have been especially crabby with my husband over the last months (he is a well-intentioned, but very, very insecure and therefore controlling person). Then I saw a free ebook in Amazon entitled “What is it like to be married to me?” and thought, huh, that’s a VERY good question.

    So I chose to be more conscious of my crabbiness and to try to be the kind of person for him that *I* would like to be married to.

    I have to remind myself to not snap when he starts controlling, but must say, both he and I have been somewhat more relaxed over the past days. Maybe this is a good way of putting stuff into perspective.

  33. Asking you to do it in the first place is inconsiderate. Emotionally bullying you when you balk is bullshit. You deserve better. Say no, tell her she needs to get a kennel if she wants to go on vacation. If she says one word about it, hang up and don’t call her back. She’s a bad friend, and you’re better off without her.

  34. We’ve been in negotiations for a house on the Isle of Man, and we’ve chosen not to meet the seller’s final asking price – it’s about £10,000 more than we want to pay because if we pay it we eat into the reserves that will allow us to redo the kitchen which is not very user-friendly (if you want to cook in it, that is!).

    And things being the way they are, a new house cropped up on the market yesterday which is really nice, way cheaper and has parking and a bigger patio at the back…

    And am trying to help MN1 to make some good choices, but he really does set himself a rough road – I caught him out with four big lies this week. Sigh. Still, neither of us shouted or swore at each other, and that is a step forward;-).

  35. Rebecca (Another One) says:

    Thanks to all of you. It’s really helpful to know that I am not being mean by putting limits on what I’ll do.

    I love her animals, but I am running out of energy. I have my own cat that I want to spend time with, and I can’t with that schedule. So next weekend I’ll lay down the rules, and she will have 5 weeks to get a sitter if she doesn’t like the new rules.

  36. How sad is it that I’m actually contemplating which of my kids would be Tater Tot and which would have to be something like Spud? 😉

  37. CateM says:

    My dad’s a freelancer, and he has the same problem when he goes on vacation. It helps him when we go to places without internet connections. I think it’s the closest a freelancer can get to that “leaving the office” feeling.

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