Archive for September 2009

Have to and Get to

September 7, 2009

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of feeling like I don’t have enough “get to” in my life – which I blame on too much “have to”. I’ve been thinking about how often I hear myself and others using the phrase, “I have to”, to describe pretty much every part of their daily lives.  “I have to go to work.”  “I have to go shopping.”  “I have to reply to my e-mails, facebooks, tweets, etc.”  Do you know anyone, including you, who doesn’t talk about how overwhelmed they are.  There is always a pile, a list, a chore.   That pitch is driven by the idea that once we get the lists and chores taken care of then…..  We can relax, have fun, read a book, walk on the beach, start writing the book, painting the picture, spend time with those friends.  Need I go on?  The problem is that the “Have to” list never gets done.  It has dawned on me that this whole issue of “have to” is based on a lie.  I believe that the only thing we HAVE to do in this life is die.  Everything else is negotiable.  Yes, yes, I can hear you say, “But if I don’t go to work, I don’t get paid, I’ll have no food or place to live.”  I didn’t say there aren’t consequences to what we do or don’t do.  All I’m saying is that we don’t have to do them.  There really are choices.  Often they are very limited choices, but there are choices.  One choice I can make is about what attitude I take toward these choices.  I have come to really like coming at all this based on the point of view that I “get to” do, or not do, X, Y, or Z.  No, I haven’t decided to test this all out by quitting working.  I have started on a simpler level, and it seems to be having an impact.  I have added words like “need to” and “want to” to my repertoire.  The first thing I began to notice is that I felt less helpless.  Again, I’m not saying that I feel all empowered and “get to” do or not do whatever I want.  I still drive on the freeway by going the same direction that the other cars are going,  but I drive a little slower because I don’t feel quite so “have to” oriented.  I am amazed at what happens when I change “I have to go to work” to “I get to go to work.”  I know that in this economy I am lucky to have a job.  And I am even luckier to have a job I enjoy most of the time.  I get to have a dog, two cats and two horses.  I don’t have to have them I get to have them.  I am blessed.  And, in exchange, I need to feed them and clean up after them.  Not always convenient or a lot of fun, but it is part of the package.  I can choose to not “have” to be inconvenienced, but at what cost.  It’s a package deal as far as I can tell.  So, where is this all going on the afternoon of this Labor Day? I’m not sure, but I also don’t have to have it go anywhere.  I think I’ll simply let it be what it is for now because I get to make that choice.Cambria Branches