I've been thinking about Mariam and Laila, the two women who become virtual slaves to the man they marry in Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns. Both women were coerced into a cruel marriage after the lives they'd had before were oblitereated. In a society increasingly intolerant of the rights of women, this one choice could not be undone. They were their husband's undisputed property. Failure to absolutely meet his demands and unspoken desires could result in knocked out teeth and blackened eyes. Serving him well could have the same result.
I live a life with multiple options. I think right now I am in the glory days of choices. My kidlets have grown into competent adults. My husband and I have managed to secure a reasonably comfortable retirement. My health is good. The same cannot be said of my hubby's health. His options diminish to the extent that he's being tormented by gout or arthritus or some new infestion that his body is not adequately fighting. His leukemia diagnosis casts its shadow in all directions.
I think I've made pretty good choices throughout my life. When I haven't, life has dealt with me relatively kindly anyway. In slightly more than one month, I will turn friggin 63. You'd think by now I'd have mastered this business of making choices. And yet . . .
An e-mail and blogger friend of mine told me about an assignment for her writing class. The students were to write "I wish" on twenty lines of paper and then complete the sentence with a particular wish. Following that, they were to describe one thing that they could do that would help transform that wish into a reality. I've given this a lot of thought and plan to write about it in more detail at some point in my other blog. The only wish over which I have any control that I could think of is for me to get back the self discipline that I demonstrated when I successfully got rid of 65+ pounds. This was from approximately October 2001 through the following year and a half.
Instead of being self disciplined, my currrent guiding principal has been immediate self gratification. I'm troubled by that, yet so far not troubled enough to get off my butt. My elliptical cross trainer is 12 1/2 inches away from me as I write this. I measured the distance.
I glory in the multitude of my choices, yet I treat them carelessly. Even now, I find myself resisting the call to action. I want to work on updating my photo albums, a task I've resisted these past two days so that I could enjoy the taskless self indulgence of reading a good book.
It is 2:55 p.m. It is entirely possible for me to put in a half hour on the elliptical and still have time to work on the photo album. It is entirely possible for me to assume control over what I eat in the hours that remain of this day.
I'm going to take that first step now.
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