The Beauty and Frustration of Choice

There is choice in every moment.Early this morning, as I lay with our daughter in her bed, trying to convince her that 4:27am is not, in fact, a great time to get up, I came to realise something.

When I try to write this something down it seems elementary and obvious. But it needed to come to me as a realisation, so I guess it’s a truth that I hadn’t fully grasped, elementary as it may be.

I laid down on her bed, frustrated that, yet again, I wasn’t writing. I wasn’t working on my thing. I wasn’t doing what I really wanted to be doing in that moment. And that frustration was exacerbated by the thought that there is so much I want to do, but rarely do I feel like I have the time.

Do you know that feeling? When you have so many plans, so many ideas, so much you want to do, only to be thwarted by the needs of others at every turn?

I don’t think this is an exclusive feeling. I think everyone bears it at some point in their day, whether the ‘others’ are your kids, boss, friends, family, co-workers or one of the hundreds of strangers you may cross paths with.

So what did I realise in the quiet dark this morning?

I realised that I was choosing to be there.

I had chosen to put her needs before mine. I had chosen to lay down with her and coax her back to sleep.

And that meant I was also choosing not to write in that moment.

See? I told you it was elementary and obvious.

But as I recognised that I was making a choice to be there (no matter how automatic it felt) I relaxed. Immediately the tension of being caught between where I am and where I wanted to be was gone.

Suddenly I could enjoy the moment for what it was. Not an inconvenience, but rather a fleeting moment of quiet, watching my girl drift off, feeling the passage of time move on even as I lay there.

And I relaxed into it. I decided that I couldn’t feel frustrated if I was making a choice to be there.

Suddenly I understood that at every moment of every day we choose one thing over another.

We choose sleep over running. Coffee over laundry. Work over play. Laughter over offence. Writing over planning.

But the next time? It’s laundry over coffee. Play instead of work. Planning instead of writing.

The choices aren’t always easy and they are often not obvious, but they are there. And I may be over-analysing here, but I found a beautiful freedom and lightness in this realisation.

Every moment is a choice.



20 Responses to The Beauty and Frustration of Choice

  1. Many times we forget that the choices we make everyday are still our choices. We think we are forced into things, but it really does come down to us deciding to go. We can’t really be forced to do anything. Great post, and great perspective :).

    Curtis D

  2. Thank you for sharing this realisation! It is so beautiful, lovely and wise despite its simplicity. But this is what we are searching for, isn’t it? Simplicity! So of course the answer alway seems so basic and simple. I will be applying this logic of choice to my thoughts.

    • I love the way you’ve broken that down, Sarah. We are searching for simplicity, so it bears recognising that the solution is, well…simple. But we always look to overcomplicate things don’t we? (Well, I know I do!)

  3. Thank you.I so needed to read this post this morning. Living with and taking care of my elderly father has me feeling frequently that I am not getting done the things I need to do for me…but when you get right down to it…I choose this. I choose making my Dad’s days comfortable and pleasant over my needs right now. Thank you…great post!

  4. I love your posts as I can relate so well to them. Thanks for writing what you do and in such a clear easy to read way!

  5. Beautiful Brooke! Such a blissful moment when you choose to surrender to what is, over what we wish could be. I’ve caught myself in this moment countless times with my little cherubs. The pull to indulge my own creative needs balanced with the 24/7 needs of my little ones. It wasn’t until I had my third baby, that I was ready to fully surrender to it with the knowledge that my time would come.

    I’ve had to learn to be at peace with “what is” on a daily basis. My youngest is now 2.5yrs…there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I no longer wish the weeks and months away, I cherish the minutes.

  6. It can be so frustrating to have incomplete tasks. I’m my own worse enemy when it comes to this, because I tend to put a time on each task I undertake. I never really factor in other people around me, and how their needs affect the completion of my task. So it’s feels like you’re doing things in slow motion or not doing any thing at all.

  7. Wow, I can’t tell you how much I needed to read this at this very moment. I get caught up in my head often thinking “am I doing what I should be?” And feeling guilty if I’m choosing to do one thing over another. It is a balance, and we make choices everyday and we do our best, and we need to be ok with that. Thank you for the beautiful piece!

  8. Sometimes I feel frustration because by choosing to sit with my daughter, I simply avoid even worse outcome of entertaining her while I myself still need sleep, and then overly tired kid all day long, or her crying because I refused to help. Many times “what I want” to be doing isn’t even a possibility. This frustration is harder to overcome and rationalize…