I’ve been thinking a lot about choices lately. Specifically the choices I’ve made and any future choices I will make.
Whether you think you have them or not, we all have choices.
You can choose to stay or walk away.
You can choose to be kind or unkind.
You can choose to be happy or miserable.
You can choose to eat salad or a box of cookies.
You can choose to go for a walk or sit on the couch.
You can choose to save a little of every paycheck or spend it.
You can choose to have one margarita or ten.
Your life is a menu of choices
Some choices are bigger than others. Some choices are no brainers.
It’s a beautiful warm sunny. I can stay home and do laundry or I can go to the beach or lake. Um. Yeah. I’m going to the beach. I can do laundry later. Easy choice.
I once made the choice to accept a job offer in Alabama. There’s nothing wrong with Alabama. There was nothing wrong with the job. In fact, the job was pretty darn awesome. Everything about the choice was wrong for me. I never made a u-turn so fast in all my life. I drove down there from my home state of New Hampshire only to turn around and drive back within 24 hours.
A wise 18 year old once told me, “No decision is ever permanent.”
I remember struggling with my cancer treatment choices. Especially radiation. After mastectomy and pathology and the initial read out of the results, radiation was left off the treatment menu. But then, during my second to last round of chemo my oncologist delivered the bad news.
The tumor board at Dana Farber reviewed my results three times. After the third review, the board recommended radiation.
No. I do not choose radiation. I just want to be done.
My oncologist made an appointment for me with a radiation oncologist at Dana Farber. I listened to her recommendation for radiation but still…no. I choose no.
The radiation oncologist suggested I meet with a colleague of hers, another radiation oncologist at a hospital much closer to where I live. I agreed to meet with her. The radiation oncologist at Elliot Medical Center met with me for 90 minutes. She’s blonde. She’s young. She’s wicked smaht (that’s New England speak for really smart).
And she told me, “if you were my sister or my mom, I’d want you to do this.”
Well. When you put it that way, okay. So I changed my no to a yes.
Nobody was going to make me have radiation. I wasn’t obligated nor did I “have” to. I chose to. In fact, all of my medical decisions around breast cancer were entirely my decisions…my choices. I wanted to make sure cancer knew I had a clear “no vacancy” sign in my body. And I wanted to live another 45 or 50 years.
(And it just dawned on me that I’m 13 years into my 45 or 50 years of living more life.)
Before breast cancer I saw my life as a series of never ending obligations. After breast cancer I saw my life as a smorgasbord of choices and “get to’s” rather than “have to’s.”
I get to go to work.
I get to see my family.
I get to do the laundry.
I get another chance.
I get to work out.
I get to drink my fiber drink.
I get to pay my mortgage.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last 13 years, it’s this:
When you make better choices you receive better results.
When you’re clear about what you truly desire, the choices you make bring you closer to the outcomes you truly desire.
2017 is a blank slate. What will you choose to do? Who will you choose to be?