Choice

Despite only having six letters, it’s a small word with big implications. It’s the ability to choose, which is something we’re not born with. As babies and children, we rely on our parents and caretakers to make choices for us: when and what we eat, how often we’re bathed, what time we go to bed, and so forth. It’s a privilege we acquire as we grow older. However, privilege and responsibility go hand in hand and we quickly learn that our choices have consequences. Yes, kids, we can eat ice cream for dinner and stay up late every night, but eventually we’ll suffer from poor health issues.

If we don’t learn those lessons early, the stakes only get higher as we grow up: yes, we can have unprotected sex and drive while intoxicated, but the consequences are more immediate and far more serious. Just about the time we begin to gain some autonomy, our hormones go crazy and we forgo common sense and bow to peer pressure.

How we handle these early choices ultimately shape our lives and determine how we view our right to choose. Do we see them as a responsibility or an entitlement? Do we carefully examine the various options available before making a decision? Are we conscious of how our choices may impact other people?

We make many choices in our daily life. Some are small and insignificant; what outfit should I wear? Some are large and compelling; do I quit my job to pursue my passion?

Life is the sum of all your choices. ~ Albert Camus

You decide.

List – Things I’ve Learned

List

  1. You can’t fix people; they have to fix themselves

  2. You have to set boundaries and not allow others to cross them

  3. You have to respect the boundaries of others and not cross them

  4. Being present is better than being right

  5. Good health is priceless

  6. Less is more

  7. Pedestals are for statues, not people

  8. Honesty is the best policy

  9. You can’t buy class

  10. Sometimes love isn’t enough

Happy places

Wooden walkway leading to the beach & oceanWhy the beach theme for my blog?

Because it’s my happy place. We all have one that serve as a refuge from life’s chaos. It’s where I go to escape, quiet my mind, and rejuvenate.

Unfortunately, the ones closest to me aren’t the sand and shell type that we associate with the word “beach.” They’re the dirt and rock type that line freshwater rivers and lakes.  As if that’s not sad enough, the local beaches are currently buried in dirty snow and ice.

I live too far from the coast and don’t get to my happy place nearly enough.

So, the escape must be to my blog, of which has been sorely neglected since I published my first post a couple of months ago. Two deaths in the family and preparations for a trip to Washington D.C. have derailed my commitment to regular writing sessions. One of the hardest parts of writing (and dieting, exercising, etc.) is doing it on a regular basis. Why is it so hard to find time to do the things that are good for us?

However, I’m going to focus on the positives: I’ve kept up with it all, met the deadlines, and filed my taxes. I’m now sitting at the computer to write, so I’m feeling hopeful once again!

Before I sat down to create the blog, I knew it would have a beach theme. I had been contemplating a name, because I believe that’s a very important aspect. When I visited the library as a youngster, I would meander up and down the shelves searching for a title that piqued my interest. I do the same thing when I’m perusing the WordPress blogs. Of course, I search for topics of interest, but then narrow down the choices by titles; interesting titles.

I first heard the term following sea in the Crosby, Stills & Nash song “Southern Cross.” In boating, a following sea refers to a wave direction that matches the heading of the boat. For example, if the waves are heading in the same direction as the sailor, then the water is “following” the sailor’s boat (courtesy of Wikipedia.) This makes sailing much smoother and is one half of the expression “fair winds and following seas.”

This is often used in toasts and to commemorate a new voyage, among other things. I liked the analogy between how the circumstances and people who make up one’s life, can often help create either calm or rough waters. Life is a voyage, full of choices that either encourage or discourage a following sea.

I also wanted to follow-up the title with a tagline; something to complement the purpose of the blog. In keeping with the ocean theme I settled on “Navigating Your Best Life.” I’m a middle-aged woman, divorced, newly graduated and facing choices about how I want to spend the rest of my life.

I want to share my experiences and write about things that other folks my age are dealing with: aging parents, career changes, relocation, menopause, relationships, and a host of other issues. Maybe I can offer something that will be helpful or resonate with someone else. At least I can purge all my emotions and thoughts on paper or, in this case, a computer monitor!

Everyone desires a happy life, whatever that means to each of us. But, it takes a lot of work and sacrifice, not to mention all the things that impact us, both positively AND negatively. It’s not linear and involves careful navigation in every decision we make.

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Lastly, I chose my own photos for the blog. For me it’s a visual analogy. Like the changes in our daily lives, the rise and fall of the tides bring daily changes to the beach. The seashells, unique in their differences, signify the people in our lives. Various types of objects and debris wash ashore each day, some beautiful and others not so much.

All of these components set the tone for my blog and make it a place I enjoy coming back to again and again, just like I enjoy returning to the beach!