Wednesday, September 9, 2015

You Have a Choice

This is a knitting blog. This is not an opinion blog. 

However, I do have opinions, and they show up here from time to time. I’ve been watching the news lately, and I have a few things I’d like to get off my chest. Here, you have a choice: read on, or go knit something fun. Nobody is forcing you to do anything. And, just in case you are not sticking around, I'll leave you with a picture of my cat...I'm glad that you stopped by today.

Everything in life involves choice. Humans are born with the ability to make choices. Some babies choose to cry a lot, others are more laid back, even though most babies have the same basic problems related to being hungry, tired, soiled or otherwise uncomfortable.

As we grow, we still have many of the same problems, and we are always learning from our choices...or we should be. Somewhere along the line, some of us have chosen not to learn from the consequences of our choices, and this is heartbreaking. It is more heartbreaking to see you in the news (or in my news feed) every. single. day. So here is my PSA to you, the serial maker of bad choices:

Some people will always love you, no matter what. Others will never love you, no matter what. You have a choice. You can choose to be miserable, trying to make others love you, often unsuccessfully…or you can choose to focus your time, energy and affection on those who love you unconditionally. Perhaps love isn’t always what you need from everyone.

If you don't like your job, or feel that your personal convictions (religious or otherwise) keep you from doing the job you've been assigned, you have a choice. You can choose to complain to everyone you see and/or refuse to do your job, yet demand that your employer continue your compensation…or you can choose to find another job. Perhaps you should not be paid for not doing your job.

Some people will agree with your opinions (and mine), and others will not. You have a choice. You can choose to debate publicly, returning insult for insult, trying to convince others that you are right (and they are wrong)…or you can choose to live peacefully, respecting that we all have choices and opinions, agreeing to disagree. Perhaps, over time, your peaceful demeanor will win the debate without words.

Finally, if an authority figure asks you to stop what you are doing, even if that activity is apparently (to you) harmless, you have a choice. You can choose to continue, to run away or to challenge the person in authority…or you can choose to stop what you are doing and hear that person out, with respect to the authority they have been given. Even if there isn't a good reason for the request, perhaps it is better to survive the situation rather than to challenge someone with the authority to say, "Stop, or I'll shoot."

When my kids were small, and they were learning how to use their free will to make choices, Sweetie and I would often remind them that most things are simply a matter of choice. Good choices often lead to positive consequences, a clear conscience, and increased joy. Poor choices often lead to negative consequences, a nagging conscience and deflated hope. This is true for all of us, and I implore you, friends, to always do your best to choose wisely.

However, even when your choices leave you deflated (because we all make difficult decisions from time to time), you still have a choice. You can choose to wallow in the depths of depression* and anger…or you can choose to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again. (The latter is advice my mother gave me on more than one occasion, usually after some deeply humbling experience.) Perhaps, if you choose to move on and make better choices, your life will reflect that, and you will increase your personal joy!

As for me and my knitting, we will choose joy as often as we can. I hope that you will do the same, and that you will find joy, peace and contentment in this life.

I promise you knitting in the next post, and I thank you for bearing with me and my opinions today. Until I see you again, I hope that you will Knit in Good Health, and make good choices!

*Before anyone reams me for calling out depression, please understand that I know this is a real thing, and that I have fought it. I've been in therapy, and I've been prescribed antidepressants, which I no longer need. I understand that some people cannot just pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start all over again without help...but you still must choose to recognize the depression and get the help you need. There is help out there, but you won't find it unless you look. Start with your local clergy and/or doctor.