Sunday, August 30, 2015

One Size Does Not Fit All

One Size Does Not Fit All
            I intend to unload some of my philosophy on you. I’ll call it the gospel (small “g”) according to me (small “m”). I am not important enough to rate a big “M”. So if you want to take this page right now and go wrap potato peelings and fish guts, my little feelings will not be hurt.

            What started me wading through the murky philosophical pool was a six-way conversation among women, friends, all of an age.

A year ago I closed a door on a chapter in my life and opened a vastly new door, painted blue, in my little casa in Mazatlan where I spend most of my time. For now.

Denise and her husband Don recently moved from the far northern reaches of eastern Washington to an apartment in Portland, near their daughter.

Karen in England found her new life ten years ago yet she and Mick bounce around options of northern England or a log cabin somewhere in Montana, dependent upon winning the lottery.

Floweree Karen expressed hope to carry on life in her house in the middle of a multi-acre garden for another ten years. We all suggested she hire a crew to do the heavy work while she oversees the jobs from her gazebo with tea and a book.

Ellie is in the midst of the biggest life changes, with opportunity to create a life closer to what she has always wanted these many years. Dance, girl, dance.

Cheryl and Dave in Tillamook, both recently lost their mothers. Now they can shift their focus from caretaking to exploring options: go elsewhere, stay here, what now?

Of course, all our children are busy with their own lives. They don’t want our house or our stuff. Good. As it should be.

So I shot off my big mouth and said, there are no wrong decisions. Now I get to qualify my words of dubious wisdom. I’m assuming we are talking about relatively sane people making normal life decisions. We are not narcissists, sociopaths or psychopaths.

Each decision has consequences. We weigh our choices on the best information we have available to us. If we operate on flawed information, woo hoo, all bets are off. Might be ugly consequences. All is not lost. Make a new decision. I ask myself, what is my source of information. Hopefully it is not my own mind. Back in the years when it generally was my own head, based on my inherited belief system, well. . .  Let’s just say I made some strange choices which dragged along weighty consequences. That was then.

I like to think I’ve grown. I’ve traveled some steep roads with severe switch backs. I’ve been forced to question the narrow confines of my upbringing and shrug off some serious shackles. My grandma raised me. To her, there was one way, her way and her way was the only right way. Imagine trying to jam all that is “right” into a little box, paint it black and call it good. Early on, thank all the angels and Eskimos on my path, I found fascination in the many ways.

Right. Wrong. Good. Bad. Truth is mostly poetic, a way of looking at the world. As long as I am hanging off the end of this creaky limb, I’ll stick my neck in a noose and say that when we are talking these dangerous ideas, we most often forget to add two little words. “For me.” As in, this is how it is “for me”. Or, it seems “to me”, based on my life experiences . . . Maybe if we remembered that rule we might be able to hear one another. This one thing I know. When I am busy being “Right” I cannot hear a word you say. Startling thought.

I’ll sing it again, Sam. It seems to me, decisions are neither right nor wrong. Each choice comes with a personalized set of consequences. For me, I am wrong to judge the consequences of my choice. Often what I first perceived to be the “worst” thing became the “best” thing, for me, in my life at that time.

My choices would not do for you at all. Your life experiences are different. You undoubtedly base your decisions on better information. Indeed, one size does not fit all.

As Denise said, our time is not our own in the way we thought it would be; plans don’t always go the way we think they should. Best follow the ebb and flow and enjoy the trip.

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

July 2, 2015

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