Too many fun things to do

This became a refrain in our house when my kids were young.  I'd say: do you want to go to the park or to the library or watch Star Wars?  They'd say "Don't make us choose. There are too many fun things to do."

Yes, it is a first world problem.  We don't worry about having too many good choices when we are sick or stuck or broke. We worry about just one thing.  But first world problems are problems too. In some ways, they are the most interesting problems. In the exhibit Massive Change, Bruce Mau asked the question "Now that we can do anything, what will we do?"

It's a way of waking up in the morning. While most of us do not feel that "we can do anything", we can do a lot of things. We are more often afraid that we will be embarrassed than we are than we will starve. We are more often afraid that we won't make it to the gym than we are that we won't be able to get out of bed.  So we can do a lot of things, and that means that the things we do are the things we are doing by choice.

It's strangely difficult to accept that we are choosing our problems, too. We are not choosing to have problems necessarily. Life tends to provide them. We are choosing what to see as a problem and which of a range of problems we will own. It's easier to see in other people. We know that the people we coach or advise or love are choosing their problems. We often know that they have the resources to cope between than they are coping. We can predict, with some precision, the likely outcome of the choices they are making.

We cannot see our own situations in quite the same way. We may have too many fun things to do, or too many sticky problems to resolve, but at heart we have only one problem: our choices matter. They make a difference for our own lives and for the lives of people around us. Having too many fun things to do means that we pay the price for the one we choose, although we cannot always calculate that price from the limited perspective we have on our own lives.

Try this for a little while today.  Every time you begin to say "I have to," stop and say instead "I choose to. . ."  It might feel a little like launching into an adventure. "I choose."


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