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.