Decisions, Decisions!

Chicken sandwich or cheeseburger? Chicken is healthier but then it’s been so long since I’ve eaten a burger! A good burger! Then again the chicken is like three dollars less. I mean, it doesn’t come with coleslaw, but I hate coleslaw anyway. It’s not really healthier though. It’s fried. That’s it! I’m going to splurge on the burger!…Wait. Did

What If I Make The Wrong Choice!!!!!!!

she just say fries OR onion rings?! NOOOOOOO!!!!
This is how my mind works. Every decision, big or small, is processed in that same fashion. Is it any wonder that I so often feel overwhelmed? Choices. Sometimes I find them truly intimidating. What if I make a mistake? What if I fall short? What if I let someone down? What if? What if? What if? It’s exhausting and such thinking leads me into a headspace in which I’d rather not linger.
Usually, I am able to catch myself before that self-centered fear grabs hold and carries me to the point of chasing ghosts in my head. Usually, but not always.
Sometimes, the committee in my mind likes to play in those thoughts and dredge up all my old wounds and fears of inadequacy. Not over menu choices, but in matters of the heart or when new opportunities that I wasn’t expecting show up, my first reaction is to balk. My second reaction is to “figure it out.”
Never, not one single time in my life, have I ever successfully “figured it out”. No. What I do is overthink every option, project into the future, decide not to make any decisions at all and bury my head in the sand, like the good little ostrich that I can be sometimes. Trust me when I tell you that it is not an effective course of action.
Learning how to be proactive rather than reactive has been a slow process for me. Some days, I’m much better at it than others. On the good days, I celebrate the fact that I have choices! Good, bad or ugly, they are my own and if I make a mistake, I know that I will learn and grow from it. On the good days, I know that feelings aren’t facts and a life lived in fear of being wrong is no kind of life at all. On the tough days, it’s more of a challenge. That’s ok. I’ve learned how to be open and honestly express my emotions in these regards. I am no longer afraid to seek guidance and have learned that I am responsible for my effort, not the outcomes. Because of this, fear and self-doubt may rent me on occasion, but they no longer OWN me. This enables me to make decisions, regardless of how I may view them in the given moment. On that note, I think I’ll go with the onion rings.

Corey Anne Rotella co-authored the book CNA Edge: Reflections from year one along  with Bob Goddard and Hannah Hedges. It’s  collection of essays from their blog  CNA Edge: a Voice from the trenches of Long Term Care

She also writes commentary about her life experiences on her personal blog Chasing Wonderland


Embracing the Moment

(Another great guest post by Corey Rotella!)

free“HELLOOOOO FOOD LION!!! It’s so good to be Baaaack!!!!!”, I announced as I walked through the automatic doors. It’s my modus operandi to dramatically announce my arrival at that particular store. Thaddeus, Marcus, Kia…the workers there are no longer surprised by my antics but there was a time when they did not know what to make of me. They thought I was off my rocker, but the truth is there is always a method to my madness.
I’m not sure at what point I noticed how many people live on automatic pilot. I was guilty of it myself; standing in line, wishing time away as if those moments had no value because they were so very mundane. I only know that once I became aware of it, I was unable to let go of that knowledge.
Maybe it’s because in my line of work, I see people who would give anything to have that time that I so carelessly took for granted. Maybe it’s because, through recovery, I’ve learned that enough of my moments were stolen by myself destructive behavior. How I reached that awareness is not nearly as important as what I do with it, so I made a decision. I would do my very best to not go through the motions in life and whenever the opportunity presented itself, I will help others to do the same.
How does one go about doing that? Well, for starters, I began talking to strangers. In lines, in Walmart, in banks; I ENGAGE! A simple hello or empty platitudes do not do. They are too easy to brush off. No, this sort of communication requires some effort. Sometimes I just announce the weirdest events of my day, and trust me when I say there are plenty from which for me to choose. It shocks people out of their head and brings them into the moment. Ultimately, that is my goal.
Too much time is wasted regretting the wreckage of the past or living in fear of the wreckage of the future. It robs us all of the present. Even when the present is mildly uncomfortable, it’s real. Concrete. Memories of the past are blurred by time and fear of the future is nothing more than attaching emotion to what MIGHT be. Staying in the moment is the antidote to a life lived on autopilot. If shunning social norms by loudly announcing my grand entrance to a grocery store full of people helps me to achieve that goal, then it’s a price that I’m willing to pay. Until next time shine on, my friends.

Corey Anne Rotella co-authored the book CNA Edge: Reflections from year one along with Bob Goddard and Hannah Hedges. It’s a collection of essays from their blog CNA Edge: a Voice from the trenches of Long Term Care

She also writes commentary about her life experiences on her personal blog Chasing Wonderland