” Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.” C S Lewis “The Silver Chair”
Choices are not the same as decisions.
A choice is when there are two or more items on the shelf and you choose one.
A decision is the end-point and the thing you get to live with after the other choices have been discarded.
In its cruelest sense, I was the discarded item of choice. The decision was the ending of our marriage. The choice was his and he gets to live with his choice. I get to live with his decision.
I coped to a large extent from the consequences of his decision by making my own choices. For example, I chose aloneness over loneliness.
Loneliness was feeling sorry for myself.
In the early days post separation loneliness descended upon me. I felt my whole world had collapsed and with it all those levels of companionship and support my husband had seemingly provided. Gradually I realised that comfort could be provided by other means and from other people. I even embraced aloneness as my companion and as an opportunity to develop my creativity. By doing so I have not let myself become enveloped in any further loneliness.
Aloneness is a state of being alone
Aloneness does not simply mean living alone. Aloneness is being the only one in exactly my position with my strengths and weaknesses, the only one with my inner beliefs and desires, the only one who can face my difficult moments when I feel most bereft.
When I was married all major decisions could be shared. Where to live, how to provide financially, which projects to become involved in. Now all those decisions are mine and mine alone. My problem now is agonizing over the consequences of any decision I make, making sure any decision is fair and reasonable to myself and others, and feeling utterly alone in the making of those decisions.
I realise now these are not my decisions, they are my choices – where to live, how to make or spend my money, and what to do with my time. I realise that I can enlist help from others in making those choices and I can take my time in making them.
In contrast my most difficult decisions have been mine alone and have not been made with choices laid out for me. They were not made after protracted analysis or at times of quiet deliberation. They were made at times of distress. At those times of distress, the raging turmoil within me grew so intense that the only choices I had were sinking into complete collapse or finding calm. I chose calm.
From the calm within the turmoil I made those tough decisions – alone and with yet with total conviction because I just knew they were the right decision.
Those difficult decisions have been to change myself, to face the truth and to live by my core values no matter what.
Any choice I make now will come as a consequence of those life decisions I have made.
In fact, for any seeming conflict I have within myself for any current choice I now need to make, I only need to look back to those decisions and the choice becomes an easy one.
“When the pain of what we are living becomes greater than our fear of changing, we let go. When our fear of drowning swamps our fear of holding onto nothing, we start to swim”. Louise Gallagher