Wednesday, May 05, 2010

If Life Gives You Lemons ...

It was a day of big decisions. We all have those days. Days when the things you do and say will affect both your future and the future of those around you. Days where your thoughts will become actions and your actions will have consequences that are beyond your control. The nature of my job is that I have to be able to make decisions quickly, to think on my feet (sounds better than 'on my ass' but that would be more accurate), and to roll (ah, this one works) with the punches.

There is something exhilarating in making decisions because it denotes that you have a wee bit of control and at least a few options. Having choices means selecting some and not others, one amongst many. Having choices means that there are pathways that you will not walk. Things that you need to say goodbye to. Options that will be closed, now forever. It's a big deal. Very big deal.

Many of my choices are meaningless ones that come around daily - where I can change up and switch around with no particular sense of concern. No one really cares if I wear red or yellow or black. No one but me. It's a choice that's wonderful to have but doesn't matter. Today, the choices mattered. All day they mattered. To me. To others. All freaking day.

So when I got home, finally home, Joe offered me a very simple choice. Did I want tea, or did I want sparkling lemonade. Now, I should have thought about how nice it was to have someone who would make or get me something. But instead, I kind of flipped out. It seemed one choice too many, one decision over the line. I was simply done with it and snipped when I should have thanked.

In the end, Joe just made the choice for me ... and gave me lemonade. It was only then that I realized that I really wanted tea.

Choices, they may be a burden sometimes - but aren't you glad you have them. Decisions, they may be a bother sometimes - but you never, really, should give them over to another.

Because you end up drinking lemonade when you really wanted tea.

And that's the life that people with intellectual disabilities have lived with for generations.

9 comments:

Dad said...

Must be the phrase of the Moon, because even here, so far way I've had few days of out of left field decisions to make and am probably still the worst bastard on earth for making the wrong ones. But it is always nice to have choices available

Mark Pathak said...

I remember years ago when I worked in a group home and went with guys to the pub. Back then it was a case of "oh give THEM a coke and call it a beer", and yes, I was guilty of it as well. Mind you that was over 25 years ago when I was young and more naive!

CAM said...

I recently had to make a decision for myself, nothing earth shattering but signifcant enough for me to have some trouble deciding. One day after discussing it for quite a while with a family member I said, I wish someone would just make the decision for me.
So she did. She told me what decision to make. My gut reaction was to do the exact opposite of what she said just because. I can see how people with intellectual disabilities get labeled non-compliant because the first reaction of being told what to do is to do the opposite.
I ended up doing something in between what my family member suggested and the opposite of it, which is likely what I would have done anyway if I had just thought about it some more.

Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg said...

I tend to be very decisive. Sometimes, it's exactly what the situation calls for, and sometimes, it's a disster. My husband, on the other hand, tends to weigh every decision in the balance until I want to weep. Sometimes, that's what the situation needs, and sometimes, it's a complete disaster!

Between the two of us, though, we seem to be able to work our way toward timely decisions that don't involve running off a cliff. :-)

Jen said...

It's been one of those weeks where I've been trying to make what seem like irrevocable decisions right, left, and centre...adult planning and job placement training for 2 children who aren't able to contribute too much in the way of their own preferences at the moment. It's also a week where I'm having difficulty deciding what to wear in the morning (and yes, the two things are likely connected).

I am very glad that I have the right (and theoretically) the ability to make decisions now that weren't available to parents even 10 years ago. I really wish that I could choose the time that I was going to make those decisions...it would be lovely to call a case manager or the Ministry and say "Okay, I'm totally ON this week- let's do it!" Nothing is absolutely irrevocable now, but the pressure's definitely there. And I'm the lucky one, as I'm the one who is making the decisions- if my kids could I would let them, but right now I still have to go with my gut and pray that I'm reading them properly.

eiramyllek73 said...

If life gives you lemons, you could make lemonade...

OR

Squeeze it in someone's eye and haul ass!

I like having choice too. :)

Kristin said...

What a powerful post.

Princeton Posse said...

My goodness, having to make tough decisions here too! Lots of back and forth and trying out different senarios. I do not like having the "power" to make decisions for others but take some comfort in that I really try to listen, observe and dream of what maybe impossible (right now).

Casey in Chatham said...

Excellent post Dave. Sometimes in a restaurant too many choices make me resentful. Do I want soup or salad, do I want fries, how do I like my steak cooked. But without our own choices we'd feel less than human and not in control of our own life. Keep up the good work, you have great insight and I for one appreciate you sharing these with us.