….Choice….

And then it was quiet.

I no longer felt like a lost sock in a spinning dryer.

I didn’t know what I felt – I but I felt something; a calmness, as if I had landed and was sitting quietly on the ground in the dark, but it wasn’t a scary dark, more the dark of a movie screen where thousands of possibilities wait for a light to shine through them.  The dark of a blank page waiting for the caress of ink.  The dark of a restful sleep when all is well.

Not that all is well – but for the first time in a very, very long time – I feel something I haven’t felt….

Choice.

Sure, I’ve had choice – I could wear my Superman shirt or my Batman shirt – I could drink tea or coffee – but up until now, my time has been everyone elses but my own.  3-5 appointments a week just for dealing with my son’s care, plus all the household management – bills, food, laundry, cooking, cleaning, shopping…  And I kept going – I am not even sure how – some of it is a blur – some I don’t remember at all – but Monday afternoon, my schedule cleared – All bookkeeping and paperwork done – one appointment rescheduled to next week – and suddenly – I had nothing I had to do beyond the daily chores.  What did I want to do.

You might think sleep would be my first choice, but no.  Since the boy is sleeping in his own bed in his own room, I’ve been sleeping a lot better – and now I’m up to about 7 hours a night with potty breaks, which I hear is quite average.  The iPad was the best investment I’ve ever made and I highly recommend it for kids like my son.  He keeps himself occupied when he wakes up until I have his breakfast ready.  The iPad has given me freedom – as he doesn’t try to escape from home anymore.  Just holding the iPad makes him more verbal and gives him confidence.  So sleep is going well for everyone in the house.

Choice can be overwhelming when you’ve lived so long without it.    So I spent some time contemplating the pile of sewing projects on the sewing table.  I spent some time contemplating a few organizing projects.  I played a lot of solitaire.  I watched some tv.

You take choice for granted – when you don’t think about it.  How much of your life is choice – and how much of it is just rote habits you acquired because you never questioned what you were told.    Every day, people are choosing to speak up for things they can no longer endure, and getting a LOT of flack for it.  A person refuses to do the required action in an expected social ritual and they are labeled as WRONG.  What it boils down to is this:  You didn’t like standing for the National Anthem when you were a kid, but grown-ups made you.  Now someone else is exercising their free will to NOT STAND for the National Anthem, and you are angry about it.  It’s NOT FAIR that they get to kneel when everybody knows you HAVE to stand up for the National Anthem – if you don’t, you’re a BAD PERSON.

Every spring semester in college, we’d get the psychology assignment to go out in public and break a social norm – do something you’re “not supposed to do” in public – and someone observes the public’s reactions.  This was a very tough assignment for a lot of people – because their conditioning was strong.  Standing for the National Anthem is just another social norm.  Just like sitting in a chair, using utensils,  wearing clothing,  holding a door for someone, it’s something you were taught to do when you were little by someone you respected a whole lot (respect is not love or hate but is motivated by both).  You never asked why – because you don’t question the people you respect – you just accept they know what they are talking about and they would never steer you wrong.  But who did they respect?  What were they taught?

I’m thinking we have many, many people in this country who need to stop a minute and start asking the 5 W’s.  What – Where – When – Who – and WHY.

What am I doing?

Where am I going?

When did I stop thinking for myself?

Who told me I had to do this?

WHY am I doing this?

You have a choice….choices.

There are so many more important things going on involving your neighbors and your community than sportsball sponsorships and who’s sitting or standing – in the stadiums – in the bathrooms – in the government seats.

 

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Pearl Manhattan

Life interrupted - this space is changing - stay tuned

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