On a lifespan of 70 years we start with approximately 25,500 days. That’s about 3,643 weeks. We all start off being dependent. Totally dependent on the graciousness of our caregivers. We are at the mercy of others for food, shelter, and hygiene. Assuming we live a full life, many of us end up right back at the same position. Needing others to provide for our daily needs.
With my mother spending the last two and a half years of her life in a nursing home, I became well acquainted with what the end of life looks like for many people. I was there everyday. Looking after her. Making sure she was properly cared for. Catching the many mistakes that get made with treatment and medications. Bringing her food that she liked. (hamburger, french fries, and a Dr. Pepper were a regular request)
More importantly, I never wanted her to feel abandoned, cast aside, or that she didn’t matter. She had a hard time being in a nursing home. I had a hard time with her being there too. We kept her home until she required 24 hour a day care. We just couldn’t do it anymore. There were precious moments during this time in our lives. I talked to mom about many things. Got insights into a few family secrets. Solved some generational mysteries. And, accepted there just aren’t any good answers to why some things happened.
We make choices in our lives. According to various sources on the internet we make about 35,000 choices a day. Conscious and unconscious. Many of us will make over 225 decisions about food in a single day. We all have our differences so this isn’t exact for each person. However, it’s safe to say, we are all making a lot of choices each and every day.
I found the candy aisle at the grocery store. It was the first time I was in this store having just moved to the city. I was well acquainted with the candy aisle in my previous store. As I walked down the aisle I noticed a man standing in front of the candy. He barely moved. He was searching desperately for the answer to his craving. I arrived, stood next to him, and joined the search. We quietly traded places so we could continue the search on the other side of each other. I said to him, there are too many choices. He replied, that’s
exactly right, as he grabbed a bag of candy. Walking away he stated, I always end up getting the same thing. It’s my favorite.
I continued a short search before grabbing the same candy I always get. Too many choices can defer to our default setting. Keeping us locked into patterns we may not want. Many of our daily decisions, things like what to wear today, have no long-term effects on us. Other decisions, such as marriage, can alter the very course of our lives. When I take the time to be thoughtful, authentic, and write out my choices it helps me minimize my options to the point where wisdom is more apparent.
Sitting with my mother day after day, I realized something was going on inside her. When she first suffered strokes there was a window of opportunity for her to regain much of her life. She didn’t want to do the work and refused therapy. Over time she declined beyond rehabilitation. Now, years later she wanted to do better. She wanted to help herself. She wanted to live but her quality of life was gone forever. I felt the sadness she was experiencing.
We will make decision after decision. Many times from auto-pilot. 25,500 days can go by before you know it. Whether it’s wardrobe or politics, we can find our true north by taking the time to be mindful. We can harmonize our purpose, passion, and power into serving our highest calling. We can gain momentum by slowing down the process of decision-making to be sure our energy fuels a deliberate trajectory. Scattered and unattached choices weaken the desire for resolve and reward.
That candy aisle doesn’t fit my divine intention. In spite of how long we’ve been together I’ve had to make a decision about candy. There are defining moments in all of our lives. They becomes days to remember. Days to remember births a life not soon forgotten. You are worth strategic planning. Your life deserves the benefits of wisdom. You have the right to good decision-making. Even if you have days you prefer to forget don’t pass up the opportunity to create days to remember!
Do you have a system for making decisions?