taking it home

Only one more week of shopping at 7 stores to go. I’m not all that excited to go back to “normal.” OK, I admit, I am dying to go to a nursery. Those little hostas and heucheras have been crying my name for a month, and I am willing to answer their call. But I have lived just fine without.

And I do miss eating out. With the only restaurants on our list being Starbucks and Jamba Juice, well, let’s just say no one goes to either one of those for the food. (Although Jamba oatmeal is unparalleled, if you didn’t know.) On the run and wanting lunch, I’ve felt the limited options. But I have lived just fine.

I’ve been trying to figure out what all this is teaching me. Giving away things, wearing only seven things, shopping at only seven places–it hasn’t been that hard. Isn’t something like this supposed to be earthshakingly difficult? Shouldn’t the deprivation have formed me into an ultra-generous, Gandhiesque person by now? Shouldn’t some life-changing lesson have jumped out at me like one of those pop-up ads that spins and sings? (Good thing it didn’t. I would have closed and ignored it immediately, the annoying little bugger.) If an experiment doesn’t return immediate observable results, shouldn’t the scientist throw it out?

Not necessarily. Sometimes, something stands out not because it’s loud and flashy but because it’s quiet and slow, in the midst of a world that prefers flash. If every dog in the shelter is yapping like a crazed chihuahua, you may not notice immediately the silent one that just looks at you with eyes that say, “I’m yours.” But when you do, chances are good you’ll take that one home.

What I’m “taking home” from this month, the last three months, of limited options is the opposite of what it implies. It’s that I have a lot of options. And one of those options we often forget is the choice to choose nothing.

I can choose not to stop at a store and get something I don’t really need.
I can choose not to answer my phone and be available to someone who doesn’t really need me.
I can choose not to keep something just because it’s mine.
I can choose not to eat something just because I can.
I can choose not to spend time and money searching for the perfect thing and accept what works fine.
I can choose not to do and just be, especially with my family.

One of the strangleholds of the millennial generation is the plethora of choices they have. So much spread out in front of us paralyzes us to the ability to choose anything. So, learning to choose nothing is a skill I didn’t know I didn’t know. It’s one desperately needed. And I’m glad I get to take it home.

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