Thursday, January 13, 2011

If Life Is Made Up Of Choices...Then How In The Heck Did I Get Here???

When I left the house this morning, I was itching to just turn around, sit down at my computer, and write what was on my mind.  And...this often happens to me...the events of my day sent my mind in a whole different direction.  So my blog about the humorous things I have had happen while internet dating will just have to wait.

But it gives me something to look forward to (tee hee).

When I left this morning, my destination was a luncheon with a group of professional women who meet once a month here in Denver.  I just joined this group (the Alliance for Professional Women of Denver) last fall because I felt like fate was leading me to them.  Not only has my own sister been a longtime member, but my web designer, estate attorney, and writing coach all belong.  So I felt like the planets were telling me to go forth and network.

Never one to question how the planets are aligned, I have gone forthed and lunched.

I signed up for this luncheon because I thought the speaker today sounded interesting.  Her topic today was:  “Is your BUT getting in your way?”  Meaning...what are you doing, what are you telling yourself, that could possibly be keeping you from getting what you want.

The speaker was fabulous...funny, thought-provoking, and had my mind racing.  Some of the things she brought up, I think I have in check and I’m doing the best that I can to set myself up for success.  And...even though I know you alll think I’m perfect (ha ha), some of the things she brought up I know I need to really work on.

But the thing that had me really thinking the entire way home, can really be summed up in one word.


I’ve always considered myself a pretty self-aware person.  I mean, it’s not like I go through my entire day thinking about every decision I’ve made on an elevated level.  For example...I don’t sit there in the drive-thru at McDonald’s and ask myself, “Now, why did I choose an iced tea over a Diet Coke?  What does that mean?”

But I do for the most part try and think about what I’m doing and what it has to do with the bigger picture.  So, I guess I could have answered myself, “Because Diet Coke has a higher sodium content and you really don’t need that.”

I know.  I’m weird.

I’m careful about the people I choose to really let in.  I think who your friends are and who you choose to have influence over your life say a lot about who you are and what’s important to you.  I have chosen to keep my circle of friendship small and powerful in a positive way. 

That’s not to say that I only answer the phone when a select 3 people call.  I love people and nothing makes me happier than meeting new people.  And...the truth is...many times you can’t determine your inner circle until you get out and meet a lot of people. 

You can’t find who you need in your life without a little trial and error. 

There will be people who make the cut and people who don’t and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Your life is constantly evolving and choosing those people who can evolve with you is not a decision that happens overnight.

Since my husband died, I have been very aware of my choices in the past.  I have reflected a lot over the last 3 years about my life and what choices I have made that have led me up to this point.  I am a big believer in taking responsibility for my own life and, for better or for worse, dealing with the outcome.

Because, the truth one is responsible for the life I have now more than me.

Now...don’t get me wrong.  I don’t try to rationalize the fact that I’m widowed.  That was a situation that was out of my control and I really had nothing to do with that.  There is a big difference between placing blame and taking responsibility. 

And there is very little time or energy that should be given to placing blame in a situation.  It really doesn’t help anyone.

But if I want to be really honest with myself...I did choose to get married.  I chose to get married at a young age.  I chose to have children and build a family.  And benign as that sounds to most people...I chose open myself to love and to be loved. 

Which means that I also chose to accept the possibility of losing it.

At 20...I was not completely aware that I was making that choice.  But I’m dealing with that loss...I am very aware.

As I choose to move forward and date, I realize that I’m choosing to open myself up, yet again.  And as a pretty self-aware person and knowing what I know now...that must mean I’m choosing to risk all over again.

That also means that love was important to me then.  And it must still be important to the “new me.” 

When I think about my professional life, I can think back (again) to when I was really too young to realize what a conscious choice I was making.  I chose to major in English for a very good and valid reason:  I couldn’t take multiple choice questions.

Now, I’ve blown that off for years, saying that I chose to major in something I knew wouldn’t get me flunked out of college.  But now that I think about it...wasn’t I choosing something I knew I would do well in?

I didn’t know, as I was madly punching in numbers on the phone in my dorm room, trying to get into the classes I needed (pre-online scheduling, of course) that I was choosing a path that would dictate how much of my life would be spent.  I didn’t know where it would lead.

And where has it all led?  Here.  Widowed, not by choice, but because of the path I chose to take.  Writing, opening myself and my life up to you...which has completely changed my life and how I look at the world.  And as “random” as I make starting the Widow Chick Facebook page and then sound...I was making a choice to help people and be helped in return.

The concept that we can choose our own lives is huge.  And I don’t ever want you to think that I believe we have complete control over what happens to us. 

What I do believe is that we have a choice about what we do next when an out-of-control thing happens.  How do we deal with it?  Where do we go from here?  How do we digest the fact that our lives are completely different...and then move forward so that we can still live? 

Yet again, I feel like we have a choice to make.  We can either be completely overwhelmed with the thought that we always have choices to make.  That alone is a thought big enough to paralyze most people.  Or we make little choices...right on who we are now and where we would like to be in the future.  Do we want to be happy (no small task)?  Do we want to start building toward a new dream?  Do we just want to feel good for an hour so that maybe someday we’ll feel good for two?

And how are we going to get there?

I want to leave you with one of the best things the life coach talked about today.  When you’re driving at night...your headlights only allow you to see about 50-100 feet in front of you.  You navigate the road a little at a time.

And then get to your destination.

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© Catherine Tidd 2011


  1. Julie Richards DiBeneJanuary 13, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    Awesome as usual Catherine, You Rock!!

  2. Nice post. Thanks. But it's still hard sometimes driving that road. There remain fears in seizing life like that deer on the road that can appear out of no where.
    So high beams when appropriate in life as on the road! :-)