Monday, August 02, 2010

Self-will redux

I've started to write new posts a few times in the last few weeks, but something has always come up to reinforce how very relevant the last one about self-will is. That's been pretty much how things have gone lately...

My blogger friend is, to my surprise, seemingly doing pretty well. He's still employed, has a new girlfriend, has begun a small lawn-care business, and has seen a new psych doc who has cut way back on his meds. He seems to be coping with the changes from what he is writing, and doesn't seem to be drinking excessively (or much at all). Again, I realize this is a very one-sided report since there is nothing except his blog to verify it, but I'm glad for his success. May it continue. It brings me hope that healing is possible.

In other ways, however, the self-will phrase is still applicable in our daily lives, as I suppose it always will be. I struggle daily with the need to exercise and be careful about what I eat, and blew it pretty well at a lovely dinner Friday night.

We'd taken some friends out to eat at our local golf club where we have a strictly social membership. It's a pleasant evening, looking at lush greens of the course, a lake, and trees. The food is just excellent, and the four of us enjoyed fresh, well-prepared food. And then the server asked about dessert. Well, I'd already indulged in a mound of garlic red=skinned mashed potatoes which were delicious and most definitely not something I need to be eating regularly. But she proceeded to describe the cookies and cream ice cream cake and the Reese's peanut butter cup ice cream cake, and we ordered BOTH for the table. Homemade cakes, they were, and seriously decadent. So while I ended up taking home a good-sized portion of my meal, we ate every drop of the desserts.

So I'm back to being very prudent and will climb on the treadmill shortly, just to salve my guilty conscience and to move forward on the path I need to be on. It's not all about perfection, but about the ability to pick up and move forward when there is a slipup.

There's also been a disturbance in the daughter forces which has resulted in some difficulty sleeping and a lot of discussion. It's yet another exercise in setting reasonable boundaries and letting go lovingly, and we have been consciously trying to do this for some time, although we keep revisiting it.

In reading recently, I found this quote from Mary Tucker: "I had to take my own advice and be a responsible adult and let her go, let her go to whatever broken bridge may be in her future and know deeply that it is her life to live, her mistakes to make and learn from and it does not make me less her mother or that I love her any less."

Applicable, of course, for Tony as well, since we make decisions together...

This is easier said than lived with, I might add. I've written before about setting boundaries with adult children, read some really good books about it, but it is hard to set a boundary when you are watching your child in distress. No parent ever wants to watch a child suffer. And yet. AND yet...

They begin and end one place. We begin and end somewhere else. They get to make their own decisions and choices as to how to live their lives. We are not responsible for those choices or decisions, and are not obligated to approve, disapprove, finance, or otherwise support them.

Unfortunately, repeated requests take an emotional toll on relationships. And it becomes an endless circle of rebuilding and repairing and re-establishing some measure of trust, and there is always a wariness of 'what's next,' alas. Love is not the issue: we love our children NO MATTER WHAT. But we cannot afford any longer to rescue them from their choices and actions either financially or emotionally. It is not our right to do so, it is not our responsibility, we cannot control their lives -- nor do we want to! And it definitely is not the best thing for them.

Dear heavens, making choices and taking responsibility for ourselves is quite enough for anyone!

So in the end, it still boils down to creating our own destiny. We choose our future by our choices today and our today is based on choices we've made in the past. While we cannot change past choices, we do have choices at this moment, this day, and can go forward onto a different path that takes us where we want to go.

Had I made different choices as a young woman, I would not be here now. Looking back, I see crossroads all through my life, although only in the past 20 years or so have I been able to actually realize when I am standing at one (and still miss some). Sometimes they're big enough to slap you upside the head. Sometimes they are much less obvious but just as life-changing. Few are easy choices, even the logical ones.

It takes self-will to break out of a pattern, even a destructive one, and move forward on a new path. Self-will run riot is merely repeating the same choices and actions over and over and over in hopes of a new, more beneficial outcome. And it will never, ever work.

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