Monday, March 30, 2015

Choices and Consequences by Diane Burton

Our lives are fashioned by our choices. First we make our choices. Then our choices make us. ~ Anne Frank

One of the hardest things for a parent is to teach children that choices have consequences. Too often we want to protect them by preventing them from making a poor choice or bailing them out of a bad situation. From the time my grandchildren started climbing, my daughter’s frequent refrain was “make a better choice” instead of “don’t do this” or “don’t touch that.” And when they continued anyway, she told them “as a consequence” they had time out.

A better choice. And consequences. The choices we make—whether consciously or unconsciously—affect us in ways we cannot imagine. Not doing something is a choice. Little, everyday decisions accumulate and have consequences. When my husband changed jobs or was transferred, things happened fast. He went to work in the new town, leaving me behind to put a house of for sale. Putting off painting the front hall, repairing that screen door from the dog’s claws, and other household chores caught up. Should have made a better choice.

At the end of February, we had all the documents needed for taxes. Past history told me “corrected” documents could come in March. So I kept putting off gathering all the info to take to our tax person. Did I consciously make a decision not to work on taxes? Nope. I was preoccupied with my newest WIP. Writing about space adventures was much more interesting than gathering medical expenses or figuring out business miles. Avoidance was a choice. And the consequences were that last week I scrambled to get ready for Friday’s appointment.

Procrastination is my middle name. Granted, I work better under deadlines. It’s amazing how much I can get done when I have to. Not so amazing is that I could have done things ahead of time—like the taxes. Procrastination is a choice. Choices have consequences.

As I write this post, a line from a Robert Frost poem kept swirling around in my head. This ending from “The Road Not Taken” is perfect choice on which to end this post.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

Diane Burton writes romantic adventure . . . stories that take place on Earth and beyond. She blogs here on the 8th and 30th of each month and on Mondays on her own site:


Jannine Gallant said...

I'm actually not a procrastinator. When I have something that needs to be done, I can't focus on anything else until I do it. Unless it's housework. That I can ignore!

Diane Burton said...

I'm real good at ignoring housework. LOL

Margo Hoornstra said...

So choosing my wip over tax prep wasn't my fault entirely? My less than perfect subconscious. Cool. Ah housework. Talk about a road less traveled. In my house anyway.

Diane Burton said...

LOL, Margo. Road less traveled. Me, too.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Good points, Diane. I tend to choose the tangible over the less tangible task. Instead of burying my nose in a revision (the 50th run-through), I repotted and orchid. Boy, that felt good! :-)

Alicia Dean said...

UGH...I'm a terrible procrastinator. I used to work better under deadline, but I've been under deadline for months and I haven't finished my books (yes, books, plural!)

Unknown said...

Put me down on the list of procrastinators. And it always seems like the consequences don't make me change my ways, sad to say.

Angelina Jameson said...

I'm with Debra. Consequences don't seem to change my procrastination habit.

Leah St. James said...

I prefer to think of it as activity overload -- there's just too much to do in too little time! Every day I fall farther and farther behind, to the point I'm just putting out fires that were merely smoldering piles (of what, I don't know) a few days earlier. Sigh. At least I'm not alone!