Part 69: One of the hardest things I’ve had to accept is that when I chose one thing, I didn’t choose another. When I chose to get a mammogram, I didn’t choose the thermogram route.
When I chose Matt, I didn’t choose Rob, who was an avid meditator.
When I chose to write (and keep writing) about compulsive eating, I didn’t choose to write a novel.
When I chose to live on the West Coast, I didn’t choose to live close to my family.
When I chose to not have children, I didn’t choose the joy or worry of children and grandchildren.
The reasons decisions have often been difficult for me is that I want to keep all my options open. I’m not married to Rob. That train left the station 36 years ago. I’m not living near my family. That boat sailed 43 years ago. I’m not a novelist. I am a non-fiction writer.
Wanting or believing I can keep all the options open has led to a great deal of self-torture: “Well,” I've mused, “I can still move to France and live in Paris for a year. I can still leave Matt and marry a confirmed Buddhist. I can still move to the east coast and be around family. I can still spend the next five years working on a novel.
Yes I can, but no I won’t. Why? Because I don’t want to. Because those things didn’t pull me. They were not my path, my fate.
Which brings me to the second part of choices I’ve made: being clear about what is mine to do and what isn’t. Everyone has a unique path. Mine is to write and to teach what I know. My friend Rebecca, who has never had a job, is best suited to be a mother and a grandmother. How do I know that? Because that is what she is doing. Because she has no desire to do anything else.
Listening to and trusting what pulled me was the first step.
Doing what pulled me was the second step.
Accepting what pulled me was the third step.
And being vigilant about stopping the self-torture that tried to convince me that I could have been pulled by something else and that all other choices were still open is the fourth step.
When I accept the path I’ve chosen and that chose me, I stop trying to open doors that closed ten, twenty, forty years ago. My energy is all in.
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