Saturday, March 05, 2005

It's all about the choices you make

Today I was given directions to a bakery, but they were wrong. I was close and a quick call to Stein's Bakery let me know it was just a couple blocks over, but it got me to thinking...

Let's back up a few years; I've lost my wallet before. The last time I recall was during a cab ride to a job interview. I was running late because it was hard to find parking. I wasn't sure where the correct building was, and I really wanted to make a good impression. In my hustle and confusion I left the wallet in the cab, or it fell out of my pocket, or something.

I've also fallen and broken my arm. I was in the back of a pick-up truck, standing on a huge pile of pecan shells (used for garden mulch, it looks great) when I tried to jump off the tailgate. Now I had been warned the shells the were slippery, and I knew from standing up there, shoveling them into the waiting wheelbarrow that my footing wasn't great, but I tried to jump down anyway.

What's the point of these stories? It's to tell you I am not forgetful or a clutz. You see, while I have forgotten things, I refuse to define myself or be defined by others as careless and forgetful. Sure, I made a mistake and left or lost my wallet, but should that action define who I am? Similiarly, I have hurt myself, but that does not mean I have a severe lack of physical coordination. Rather, I made a foolish judgement and paid a price for it.

Who cares if you've been lost a couple times? Hasn't everyone? Maybe you do and maybe you don't have a bad sense of direction, but occassionally getting lost doesn't necessarily mean you need to be defined by it.

To me, we should be defined by our choices. More important to me than the lost wallet or broken arm was how I responded. I took responsibility for what I did, I didn't whine, I avoided blaming someone or something else. I tried to stay calm and I worked to replace or repair what went wrong. I tried not to make the same mistake in the future. If you're going to define me, use my actions after a mistake. See me when I'm working to fix a problem, optomistic of the future, and grateful because--despite all the mistakes I've ever made--I'm still blessed with more than most.

So, the person who gave me bad directions? She's not a bitch; she's not inconsiderate of my time and effort; she's not necessarily bad with directions. She's a human and sometimes she makes a mistake. Don't we all?

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