I hate making choices!

Let me be clear, I love having choices…would hate my life without them. But I hate the actual process of choosing because picking one thing always requires letting go of something else. There’s always that residual “what if” of the path not chosen.

Lately, I’ve been particularly anxious about how I choose to spend my time. As I get older, I view time as an exceedingly precious resource, and I worry about making the most of every moment. Of course, worrying is a bad use of time (and energy!) but that only occasionally helps me to stop doing it.

When I’m in a creative zone, I want to set the rest of my life aside and write and write and write. Yet I also love my family, enjoy spending time with friends, am enriched by my work as a therapist. I like movies and reading and going places. I hate sacrificing any of these amazing things for the others because I am always frustratingly aware of the possibilities I am giving up—sometimes gone for the moment and sometimes forever. And giving things up—especially possibilities—is painfully difficult for me.

I want my life to be important, to have meaning. I don’t want to miss anything. This can easily lead to a pressured, frantic energy, and it often does. I wrestle with the idea that not only can I do all these things, but I should do them all (and ideally, I should do them all right now!). I tell myself it’s impossible—I really, truly know it is impossible—yet I continually try to contort things to allow for the SELECT ALL option.

In this, as in so many things, it comes down to balance. I meditate and do yoga to try and maintain my balance, to practice being satisfied in the here and now (I even have a tattoo to remind myself to stay in the present moment), to try and mitigate my constant striving. It is important to recognize that time and options are limited, to honor that we need to make wise choices in how we spend our resources, particularly our time. But I also need to learn to let go of the perfectionistic tendency I have to make THE RIGHT CHOICE in each and every moment. To accept that I can honor and respect the limited nature of time and also give myself a break and accept that if I waste time once in a while it’s okay.

So choices have been on my mind. Not only my personal struggle with choosing, but the very nature of choice itself, the existential nature of free will, choice, destiny and fate…but I’ll save that for next week’s blog. Stay tuned.

For now, I’ll leave you with a piece of the poem, In The Middle, by Barbara Crooker that was synchronously shared with me yesterday:

“Time is always ahead of us, running down the beach, urging us on faster, faster, but sometimes we take off our watches, sometimes we lie in the hammock, caught between the mesh of rope and the net of stars, suspended, tangled up in love, running out of time.”

See, now that doesn’t sound so bad!