Sunday, March 28, 2010

choosing …

cup of tea“Thanks; I don’t drink. But I’ve brought my own tea.” (Big smile)

I’ve come to realize that making that statement of personal choice makes me feel strong and empowered. Any time that I make a statement or a choice that I feel is truly right for me at that moment—even if it’s contrary to what others may be doing—I feel that I’m standing within my more genuine self.

When I was younger, it was important to fit in with the “tribe” and be accepted. It’s probably a primal thing; at one time, being in a tribe provided safety, companionship, sharing, common bonds. One would assimilate into the operative norms of the tribe; to be cast out from it could mean danger, deprivation, loneliness, perhaps death.

So, like most of us, I adopted many of the behaviors of those around me. I adopted a sort of pseudo-self, one who went along with what most of my friends at the time did. I had 70s hair – like my friends. I got married shortly after high school – like my friends. In my 30s, I used to drink wine on occasion – like my friends.

Even decor-wise, I went along with the crowd for awhile. When I bought my home, the French Country look was big and really appealed to me, and so I painted the walls to look aged, used FC colors and patterns, bought FC accessories. It was all quite lovely; I enjoyed it, friends enjoyed it. It was pretty, comfortable, cozy.

After awhile, though, I realized that it wasn’t really me … and I painted the walls aqua, painted the trim crisp white, and added accents in chocolate and fresh green. I simplified accessories, made everything less busy and fussy, pared it all down. And I absolutely, totally love it. Simpler is better suited to my genuine self at this time.

As the years pass, I find myself releasing that pseudo-self more and asking my genuine self what it is that *I* like, what is it that *I* enjoy personally.

It’s pretty similar to when I was first divorced. I was so used to buying products and foods that we both agreed on as a couple (compromise is part of being a couple), that I had to consciously learn to buy products that I personally preferred because I didn’t have to share them with anyone else but my daughter.

I don’t abstain from alcohol for any moral or judgmental reason, for example. I have no problem with others drinking responsibly. Quite simply, I’ve just never really liked the way it affects me. I used to drink on occasion, but was never into it; I didn’t feel like me. My genuine self eventually realized that I just drank to be socially accepted in the crowd. My daughter used to laugh at me, though, because I’d nurse the same beer for an entire party – never fooled her!

I try to make more conscious decisions about my choices these days. What do *I* like? For beverages, I like tea. Preferably Yogi Tea Egyptian Licorice tea. Oh, sooooo good! If not that, then Good Earth Sweet & Spicy Tea. I’ve never tried chai tea, which seems to be quite popular. Being popular isn’t a reason for me to try things any longer, though. I love that my good friends all respect my choice to not drink alcohol. At a gathering recently, someone asked if I wanted a beer and my good buddy Chris told them, no, Rose drinks tea. Made me smile.

I find that I don’t follow the crowd like I used to, but try to find my own way more these days. I try to tap into my genuine self and define what is suitable for me. Hmmm … a nice cup of tea sounds so good right now …



Debra She Who Seeks said...

It's one of the real joys of aging that we become more confident in who we truly are, isn't it? It becomes so much less important to do what everyone else is doing!

Jan said...

Oh, I do love this post! To choose wisely and then speak this truth to others IS so empowering. We sound kindred. I could have replaced my "I" with yours all throughout this post. It takes time to uncover who we really are...

I don't drink either, Rose, and it is a proud choice I made. (For many reasons, but key to which is Buddhist precepts). Sometimes it puts people off, but oh, well. It is vital we stay rooted in our truest self, the woman we are born and choose to be. Love to you!

Caroline said...

Wonderful post Rose! Who needs to follow the crowd? Do what feels right for you. Do not compromise! I hate chai by the way...blech ;) But what I love most about this post is the truth behind it. As I get older I realize that following the crowd does me no good. You have to blaze your own trail!

Kate said...

Lovely post. I'm enjoying your blog. Makes me yearn to get back to yoga again.

Thanks for your comment on my blog. What I've got is adhesive capsulitis in my shoulder; apparently very common in mid life women (sigh). The acupuncture may be helping but like most body work is slow and steady and commitment is key. I don't always do my homework and suspect if I did, the shoulders might be that much better.

Best of luck with your shoulder issues; very annoying when you can't put on a jacket without thinking and taking great care in slow motion. LOL.

rebecca said...

I'm so with you on this. One of the benefits of getting older. Plus, I've found that throughout my journey in life I've gone through many stages and many likes and dislikes. We can say we are all different people at different stages of our lives. Personally, this freedom one acquires after 40 of feeling more comfortable in one's own skin and standing true to yourself and views despite opposition is the best one yet.

Rose - The Center of My Self said...

Debra - so true! Loving these wisdom years and the courage to stand in my most genuine self.

Jan - ah yes, I recognize a kindred spirit as well. Unfortunate that some people are put off by us non-drinkers. Everyone should choose what's right for them.

Caroline - I've heard from others that they don't like chai, either. May not try it since I already have teas that I love.

Kate - Your info is sooooo very helpful to me. At first I was very concerned, but knowing that others have similar symptoms and that it's fairly common really helps. I'll continue with the chiro. Had a deep-tissue massage recently (painful, like Rolfing) that really helped, altho it left me deeply bruised. Wishing you a good recovery!

Rebecca - That's an important point: we're different at different times in our lives. I may evolve into someone else in 10 years. Who knows? But I'll do it as a conscious choice based on my genuine self.