Based on a True Sweater

Feb. 16, 2007

The Choice Game

Do you remember the Glad Game from Pollyanna? I have a similar "game" I play in my head. When I feel trapped in a situation or a course of acton, I find it useful to remind myself that I have choices, and to identify the choices I'm making.

For example, right now I am in a truly terrible state with work, where I absolutely must work more than 12 hours a day and cancel everything else, every day for the next week and a half (and the whole month has been basically like this), or I will fail to meet my deadlines.

Of course I know that I'm in this situation because I have managed my time and workflow badly, and that's useful knowledge if I want to self-flagellate (which is not very helpful).

But I have found it very useful to remind myself that I have an alternate choice to this insane state, which is that I could just let it go and not do the work.

I feel more relaxed and in control (at least for a few minutes) when I remember that I do have that option, and not taking it is my choice. I care about the people I'd fuck over by not doing the work, I care about the career I'm building, and I care about my self-respect; I don't want to sacrifice these things. I've tried the not-doing-the-work option before, and my relationship with myself really suffers.

I think many times we tell ourselves that we have no choice in a situation. It's very seldom true (though, admittedly, sometimes the choices are absurdly bad and dire). Most of the time, when we think we have no choices, it's because we made the choice for the situation a long time ago; we have long-established habits of thought and behaviour that we use to make decisions, and we're so used to this that most of the time we don't even realize the choices we're making.

I am grateful for moments when I realize this and identify these patterns in myself, particularly when I discover a habit of thought that's not working for me any more. It's excellent to be aware that the choices I'm making all the time are the choices that shape my life.

As I write this, I'm thinking of a lot more I want to say; I had intended this to be quite a short entry, just to get the thought out, but I keep thinking of more I want to say and this is getting long.

One more thing: I was also reminded recently that in fact, I like my job very much. This is also a useful and refreshing thing to remember when I feel like freaking out. But that's another blog entry altogether.

It's time to get back to work. Wish me luck. :)

(Incidentally, I think the upcoming Spring issue of Knitty is a winner.)


At 5:00 a.m., Blogger jodi said...

This is exactly how I keep constantly talking myself out of quitting grad school.

At 6:45 a.m., Anonymous pippi said...

I wish you luck & I can relate!

*sends coffee and chocolate*
(and yarn, as soon as I get it untangled!)

At 7:46 a.m., Blogger Rachael said...

Here's to recognizing good choices, bad ones, and moving forward in a positive manner from there.

May the knitting force be with you in meeting your deadlines. :)

At 7:52 a.m., Blogger Alison said...

Like Jodi said, grad school requires a very similar mental process. But sometimes I forget to be conscious of the choice, so thanks for the reminder. And good luck -- you'll get it all done.

At 11:56 a.m., Anonymous megan said...

thanks for this post. it's a good reminder for me right now.

At 12:48 p.m., Anonymous Ande said...

Hang in there! I have the same thing her at 'le job'. We'll get together in March!

At 3:17 p.m., Blogger Deb said...

Sending a large container of emergency cyber-truffles (chocolate, who cares about stinky old mushrooms?) and an inflatable ducky pool ring, which will keep you afloat in the sea of chaos and deadlines.

Also love and (--hugs--)

At 8:59 p.m., Anonymous indigirl said...

Very well said. And very appropriate for me to hear right now, as well. Good luck! xo!

At 12:16 a.m., Blogger Karen said...

well put


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