Well-off or not. Left-wing or Right. Fit or Fat. Heels or Flats. Spanxs or Flab. Gray or Color. Stay or Go. In or Out. Happy or Sad. I imagine all of these decisions as a road with a fork in it. (Not an actual fork.) And I am Robert Frost, coming to the 2 roads that bring me to my daily choice. They add up to a lot of energy spent, and sometimes I am exhausted by 8 AM.
Some of these roads are pretty recent. And they are a bit disappointing. The choices of age just stink. Why would I care if I went natural or fixed my body artificially? At 27, I was not in the least bit interested. But at 38… they need to be considered. Heels or Flats? At 9, it didn’t matter, because my mom would have none of that anyway. FLATS. The choice was made for me.
OOH. HMM. I want my mom. To continue just making choices for me. Now lets be clear that at teen-hood, I just wanted her out of my life because she was ridiculously dumb. Because I was always right, and knew all the answers. I just needed her for food and money. NOT ADVICE. But now… it would be nice to wake up and have my clothes laid out, my shoes next to my clothes, and my breakfast made again. Even if it was oatmeal.
She could make my choices in clothing, but the consequence to that is she would also make my money choices as well. (NO, Sharon, You may not have unlimited funds for the night as you leave the house, looking for something “fun” to do.) That might work as a teen, but definitely doesn’t work when I have my own household. Oh well. It was a thought…
Oh, the money thing. To Spend or Not To Spend. The daily road of choice. Now, most fork-in-the-road spots I do myself, like trying on 5 outfits to get the right combination for the day. This includes the thank-you-for-trying-but-you-didn’t-make-the-cut-today outfits being flung over my bed and dresser, with my husband looking on in wonder. (He gathers them up and puts them in a basket for me to put away later. I just keep them there, and bring them out the next day.) Most are my individual choice, when it comes right down to it, but the money thing, well, that brings in my partner. To Spend or Not To Spend looks like this:
Husband: Oh yeah. It’s on sale. We have to get it.
Me: Is it on the list?
Husband: Writes it on the list with the pen he has kept for just such occasion. Yes.
Me: You just wrote that in!
Husband: So? It’s on sale and we have to get it.
Me: You’re right. It IS on the list….
And that’s the decision. In fact, it is what all my choices come down to. Self Control, or Live In The Moment? I’d say it is a 50/50 split right now. I do wear high heels without Scholl’s gel inserts (see a prior story for that), so I practice self control wearing them in spite of the pain, all day. They go with my outfit, after all. BUT, I don’t wear SPANX as often as I could (or should, for that matter. I do have limits in my daily dose of discomfort.). I choose salty pickles and chips on my sandwiches every time, but will skip eating ribs, steak, or red meat, usually, and choose a salad instead. Does it balance out? the teeter totter of having both control AND indulgence? Not really, but I am currently in the place where I pick the choice that makes sense at the time.
My mom would groan and turn away if she knew. (She doesn’t currently read my blog, I don’t think.)
Mom told me, once, to make a choice, make it once, and live with the consequences. Then you never have to make it again, and you are free to do other things. (My mom got along with Robert Frost on a few things.) Sound advice, really. It is how she balances her checkbook. It is how she knows when to iron shirts, and darn socks, and what time to make dinner or breakfast. Or make her bed. And when to send out birthday cards, I believe. She is amazing!
She used it, she said, for choices like, “Does she date young, or at 16?” and “Will she pray before a big decision, or not?” and “What type of companion will she marry?” I agree with her philosophy on the life changing things. And, I wish I would have listened. MMM, I listened. I just didn’t emulate a whole lot.
Oh how I envy that woman sometimes. She came to the forks of her life a long time ago, I believe. She sat in the dust, or the pavement (or she just brought one of those folding chairs that she got in a Church auction, with her), and, with a legal pad and pen in hand, would write down the pro’s and con’s of the decision. Then, she would keep the pad with her in her purse, to be referred to when needed, and would simply take the road that made most sense. And keep on down that road. ( I am pretty sure she has the legal pad to this day.) Did I say she even taught me how to do it? I saw her balance her checkbook every Monday and iron Dad’s shirts on Tuesday.
So why do my choices still look like me running, pell-mell down the road and then screeching to a halt at the last possible second, only to put a foot in both directions, walking it out until I do the splits? It’s because I want it all. I am a road dweller because I want both Self Control AND Instant Gratification. Can it be done?
My legs hurt.
I do know this. I have started to pick myself up and go down one tine of the fork in that road. And then, cut across and go to the other side, knowing that I will probably run through prickles and milkweed sap and tumbleweeds. But when I get to the other side, I get to experience … more. Even if that …more… is the wrong way after all, so I have to book it, double-time, back the way I came. Even if, when I get to where I was in the first place, I look a bit sticky and dirty and tired.
Usually, though, I am smiling because I got to see both sides. I got to look at both roads and THEN pick. Again, my mom would groan. So would Robert Frost.
I am not my mom. I will take her lessons and use them a lot of times. But sometimes…SOMETIMES… I will pick up my chair and my legal pad and just fling them into the weeds, running fast for the other road. Sometimes in my heels, never in my SPANX, and when I get to the problem of whether to go gray or natural, I may wander, then, as well.