Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

January 15, 2016

I Choose

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 2:32 am

I tried a couple different titles before I selected this one.  We are past the Midnight hour and I’m welcoming a new birthday.  I’m so excited to be here.  Excited for the day.

I’ve been thinking lately about how last year I was crowning a new decade.  Turning 50.  This year, as I slide into 51, I realize that I was tempted to think this one wasn’t as important.  Not as glittery.  Fewer trumpets.  Less confetti.

I was wrong.

It is deliciously true that, as we age, we are gifted the opportunity to paint our lives with more brilliant colors than, perhaps, we had in our palette twenty, thirty years ago.  We have access to more subtle hues and, hopefully, the willingness and daring to use every medium and to try funky things and color out of the lines and cast caution to the wind as we fill in the masterpieces that are our lives.

I’ve found that, even as I acquire a little savvy to go with the crow’s feet now dancing around my eyes, I’m reminded that, often, age doesn’t so much give us new lessons as it clarifies the old ones.

I may strain to see that young Kara now in the mirror.  At five, at seven, at ten….Sometimes the truths we were given so far behind us are as elusive as those bright eyes and white teeth and smooth skin are now.  We forget sometimes.   We forget amidst the drama and the drama-makers.  We forget amidst the chaos of the every day and the screaming headlines of the moment.

We forget that a happy life is simple.

Sometimes it seems that everyone has forgotten, too.

Share.  Play nice.  Tell the truth.  Give it your best.  Work hard.  Learn.  Continue to learn.  Forgive everyone, including yourself.  When you know what the right thing is, it’s hard not to do it.  Don’t hurt anyone.  If you hurt someone, apologize.  Pick up after yourself.   Don’t stay with someone who doesn’t treat you well.  Decide whether or not to have sex when you are standing up, sober, with the lights on.   Dream big.  Go for it.  Call your Mom.  Dance with your Dad at every chance.  Get up early enough, even once in a while, to appreciate a sun rise.  Aim for balance.  The only thing you can count on is change. Everything in moderation.  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  Actions speak louder than words.   Don’t assume.  Don’t bite off more than you can chew.   Laugh every day.  Don’t go to bed angry.   Dare to love.

Too often, I think, we are waiting for answers we already have.  We forget that the truth is the truth, even if we don’t like it.

Because this is my brain injury blog, often I wait until the end of any January because that is the anniversary of my brain injury.   Now twenty years ago, I’m not waiting for that day any longer.  Not waiting for that milestone to tell me…..anything.

I have some favorites in that list of life lessons.   Because it’s my blog, I can add my own.  LOL.  That is, don’t be the same because nothing and nobody is the same.

Seems a lot of our drama and our angst and our disappointment and our anger is because something changed that we didn’t choose.  People in our lives evolve, make decisions, move, add other people, change the roles we preferred they play….

A lot of tears have been shed over sentences that begin with, “I used to….”, “You used to….”, “We used to…..”

“Used to” implies that something changed.

Something always does.

If you’ve seen me lately, you’ll know that my New Year’s resolutions haven’t been about dieting and working out in quite some time.  But I am thinning and trimming and moving, nonetheless.

My mind is in high gear and fine shape and running circles around my old one.

My goal is to really start gardening.  Gardening my life.  Pulling the weeds of missed opportunities and bad choices, regrets and failed moments…Removing all that continues to suck up the water and starve and strangle the healthy blossoms.  Blocking out the sun… I’m planting new seeds, new bulbs….

New ways to define me.

Are you?

We don’t have to be just one thing.  That’s how we get stuck in stale jobs and relationships.  Old habits may die hard but we don’t have to wait for them to die.  We can be off and on to a fabulous new adventure long before they go.  Not waiting for change to come.  Not waiting for life to happen.  Not waiting for someone to save us.

Now waiting at all.

Let’s not allow one thing to define us.  Not a person, not a relationship, not a job, not a title, not a skill, not a place.

All those things can go in a second and strip us our identity.

Let’s, instead, remind ourselves and each other that there are a hundred things on a menu.  There are hundreds of instruments to play.  Thousands of jobs to pick from.  A million places to call home.  Billions of people to choose from.

And countless paths to happy.

I’m in a great place in my life.  Twenty years after my injury.  Fifty-one years in to an amazing journey.  We can be a gazillion different things and live our lives that many ways and more.

It’s our choice.  That’s what I have learned.  It’s our choice, every day of it.

I choose happy.  I choose blessed.  I choose love. I choose recovered.  I choose peace.  I choose music.   I choose great people.  I choose dessert, sure.

It’s my birthday, after all.  😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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