I sat across from the P.A. (physician’s assistant); this woman who is the exact age as my own. On the occasions when I must see my health care provider it is she that I choose; versus the M.D. who tends to be didactic. We talk of my health and gaze at the lab results on the screen.
My life comprises the sum of my choices; most of the time. Sometimes there are too many of them and I become overwhelmed. It is during these times that I default to the lowest common denominator; my comfort zone. The easy choice. The one that provides instant gratification without thought to the future.
“Complacent. adj. marked by self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.” Def. 1. Merriam Webster Online, Merriam Webster, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2015.
I strive to make life simpler. To cut down on the distracting noise that overwhelms. I have always appreciated the freedom of choice in a world where there are many countries whose women do not have this privilege. I can choose to exercise the right to vote. But do I? I can earn an education, work, have a family and own property/things but do I utilize them to their potential? It is only when these choices are taken away, that we can humbly and truly appreciate them.
I am spoiled. I take these things for granted.
I make mental notes of recent things that have me choose outside of my four walls. The conclusions shouldn’t have been surprising but one of the common denominators was usually a person who inspires, is charismatic; a leader. As I researched I found myself on teen psychology sites reading through identity crushes and thought, What does this have to do with me?
It has a lot to do with me. On almost each site a statement resonated; standing out. Even women who are in happy, stable relationships choose crushes; to project their desires not presented in their lives to push them out of their routines. It was normal, the act of daydreaming or fantasizing. I closed the site in disgust, does a person or thing have to be beautiful to push me out of my complacency?
Which brings me back to my health. The PA and I discussed cholesterol (good and bad). She shared her plastic surgeon’s name with me and I guffawed; astounded at her casual mention of a matter so personal. But I was grateful for her transparency; the svelte body before me assisted with the sculpting of a knife. Genetically predisposed to high cholesterol I see the silver lining within the numbers. My HDL is the highest it’s ever been; the good cholesterol affirming my hours of exercise. But the high LDL reveals my poor dietary habits; a choice I can also easily control. My body shape belies my fitness level and her words remind me of the unattainable. I am born with this shape that can flatten, but will not be sculpted without outside assistance. With her words I was grateful.
Ironically, a day after leaving the doctor’s office, I sit at my desk emptying a box of Kleenex; the flu like symptoms wreaking havoc with my schedule. Two of my sons accompany me in our workplace; one with the high fever; the other with the stuffy head and painful throat. I easily default to my comfort food; eyeing the Sees Candies order received from my son’s fundraiser for Easter. When I am miserable I again choose the easy way. I daydream of laying in bed, covers on and schedule clear; sleeping away the aches and pains while being waited upon hand and foot. The hubs runs machinery; the rhythmic thwack bringing comfort.
I am distracted by the email from my “crush;” the person I admire and wish to emulate. The hubs teases me about this “boyfriend;” noting the whys and motivation. I had been shocked when the hubs had first proposed this preposterous idea; that I had a crush on this individual. He began to list the similarities and I reminded him of the fact that I am happily married. To him.
And within the literature I find that my husband’s musings have merit; that they are normal. He laughed as I read my findings, crossing his arms in I told you so. Never have I ever found myself in this predicament. I asked, Aren’t you mad? He reminded me that our sons and I constantly tease him about the teacher he crushes on. One day the youngest son finally asked, Mom. Doesn’t it bother you that Dad thinks she’s pretty?
I had carefully considered my answer to this son, just last year. This teacher is beautiful, both inside and out, and I could relate to my husband’s admiration. Over the years I recalled the wives who zealously kept tabs on their husbands overseas. The military is not kind to relationships and when temptations abound; poor choices are made. Call me naive but I have never had cause to question if my husband was faithful; nor has he had to question me. I am most positive he looked when temptation swayed his way. I was one of the few military spouses who did not map out red light districts or question whereabouts. I chose to believe; to have faith that he and I would always make the right choice. For better or for worse; in sickness and in health. I shared my answer. No. It doesn’t bother me. I think it’s kinda cute that he appreciates her beauty. (And my sons do too. LOL).
I had said this to my son; joined by his brothers intently listening. Life always came down to simple choices and it was my job, as a parent, to teach them the basics. I know I must eat less to bring my LDL number down. That I must trust in my husband and communicate, to keep our marriage healthy and strong. There are many distractions that get in the way of making the simple choice. Money. Appearances. Politics. Religion. Culture. The trick is in cutting through the detritus to fight the complacency that resides within. To question the boundaries and to create new ones. To fantasize for inspiration and motivation.
I continue to push my four walls out; extending my sphere.