Monday, April 22, 2013

The Choices We Make

I have dust on my ceiling fan.

The other night, I climbed in bed after a long day, book in hand, ready to settle in and transport myself to another place and enjoy someone else’s story. After fluffing the pillows my eyes traveled up to my high arched ceiling. To the white ceiling fan. What did I see? Well, dust is all the way to the edges, coating the fan blades.

Now, those of you who know me recognize that this is not the norm for my space. I am a Type A Neat-Freak. I clean without conscious thought. I like order in my home. I actually like to clean. But the Ceiling Fan … well it’s way up high. I need a special ladder to reach it. It requires a specific decision to bring the ladder from the garage all the way upstairs. It’s a deliberate choice.

What did I do? I looked away and returned my complete and total focus to my book.

For a long-time, I was a stay-at-home mom. In the early years of their lives, I not only changed diapers, read books, played games on all fours, made up songs and got them to and from play-dates but I also made their baby food from scratch and took care of all the normal house stuff … laundry, washing floors, meal-planning, cleaning, cooking etc. (My husband did his share, of course. Not sayin’ he didn’t or doesn’t.) But I was at Home so I saw the dust-bunnies and mess and compulsively did it all day. Just part of the Stay-At-Home gig, I guess.

During their formative years, I actually worked from home too. (Love that statement … like I wasn’t Working at home already.) But I had a couple of different clients and marketing/event/communications work along with the kid/home projects. When my son was first born, I was in the midst of planning a huge event to take place at Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton Hotel. I sat with him propped on my leg while I typed, planned and organized. I did the “event, communications and marketing work” while he napped, too. And then, when my daughter came along … well, it was just part of what I did. I just did it with two kids now.

It’s amazing what a person can handle. I like to work and be busy. I don’t sit and do nothing well. I typically have a project going as I watch TV. It is rare that I just stop. And if I do, I fall asleep.

But back to this Ceiling Fan. In that moment, I made a choice. I made a choice that reading my book was the priority. And when I “worked” at home while my kids were younger, I made other choices ….

I chose to take them to the park instead of wash the floor. I chose to snuggle up and read a story to them instead of folding the laundry. I chose to order pizza for dinner so we could spend just a little more time coloring or playing a game. I chose to rake the leaves and allow them to mess them up (even though it created more work for me) by jumping instead of sweeping them to the curve. I chose to plant the flowers with their help even though it took twice as long.

I make other choices too. I choose to audition and perform in a play, knowing it will eat up time and take lots of energy and that my house will probably not be as clean for a little while since I still choose to make time first with my family and friends. I choose to host the party for my daughter and her 8 friends instead of going somewhere else even though the house will need to be cleaned and then will be a mess and need to be cleaned again … even though the screaming and giggling little girls will make me nuts for a little while … even though I have to gather all the favors instead of paying someone else to do it. I choose to get going on a Saturday morning to take my son to swimming then take my daughter to swimming then take my son to a Boy Scout event then go to yoga then drive home to host some friends for dinner.

I choose to get up early to work-out instead of sleeping later. I choose to get my nails done, take my kids out to their favorite restaurant for dinner, play a Wii tournament and then, once they are in bed, settle in on a Friday night for a Scandal marathon 'til midnight. I choose to volunteer and plan events for Grosse Pointe Theatre though it takes lots of time and meetings. I choose to go to the bar with my friends and laugh and talk when I know I have to get up early the next day and go to work. I choose to work outside the home when I know I could keep the place neater and better organized if I stayed in.

I choose to make time for the people I care for … for the things I enjoy doing that feed my soul, spirit, body, and mind. I thrive as a result of my choices.

What do you choose? What are your priorities? Do these choices feed your mind? Exercise your body or spirit? Do they give you satisfaction or pleasure? Do they make you happy? What do they say about the person you are ... or the person who want to be?

I guess that’s what it comes down to. What I choose reflects the person I am and what I decide is most important. I am happy with my choices.  

So, Dust on that Ceiling Fan … you will just have to wait.  I have other priorities today.

                                                                                                                                                                        -- Jenni