Living With Our Choices, No Complaints, No Regrets by Charlie Wear

I think I learned this in Physics class a long time ago, “For every action there is a reaction.” I think a corollary statement might be, “For every choice, there is a consequence.” I was thinking about this as I was waiting to get sleepy in the wee early morning hours.

I’m not a big sleeper under any circumstances. It seems that with five or six hours of sleep I will be awake and ready to start another day of “fun and frivolity.” Sometimes my sleep gets disturbed with concern about a project or appointment that I have on the agenda for the next day. I suppose some might say I have sleep “issues.” However, I don’t see them as a problem, unless I miss an entire night of sleep or only get a couple of hours of sleep. Then I know that the next day is going to be tough and that I will be needing a place to curl up for a nap in the afternoon or early evening.

So, why was I up watching Law and Order Los Angeles at 2 in the morning, you ask? As I was beginning to nod off in the first segment it dawned on me that I had a cup of coffee at St. Arbucks around 5 p.m. yesterday. And I had it with an extra shot of espresso. I didn’t think about it at all at the time, you know, that I was going to drug myself and be up half the night. I just ordered a familiar drink and enjoyed it along with some of my son’s leftover bagel.

When it dawned on me that I had taken an anti-sleeping pill and was living with the consequences I quieted the annoying complaint that was going on in my mind about my inability to fall asleep. I mean what do I expect? The drink I ordered has a nickname among Starbucks associates, “The Red Eye.” If I had thought it though a little more I might have stuck with lemonade!

It’s a simple example, but a true one: Our choices have consequences. And our lives are an accumulation of those choices and their consequences. A natural human tendency is to judge the consequences, but not the choices, unless we are in a particularly introspective or therapeutic mode. My advice: Give up judging. It only leads to self-loathing or worse, to loud complaining about how difficult life is. Let’s just recognize the facts: Life is! Why complain about it?

I met a man yesterday who is now a client. He is 88. He is a World War II veteran. He was married to his wife for 63 years before she died. He worked for a major company doing something he greatly enjoyed through his retirement. He had a strong faith and had been kind and helpful to others. He wanted to make some changes in his financial instructions in the event of his death. He’s thinking quite a bit about it because he has been in the emergency room three times in the last three weeks. He was smiling! A lot! He seemed satisfied and content with the life he had led. He did not want to change anything about it even though he did want to change his after-death arrangements he didn’t seem unhappy about it.

This man is part of generation that is passing from the scene. They fought. The live and loved and raised their families. They worked in stable jobs for stable companies. Divorce and broken families was not the normal occurrence. Layoffs and downsizing and restructuring did not occupy their thoughts. They had been raised as children of the depression and had great appreciation for hardship and hard work. What a legacy!

I appreciated this man for his lack of complaints and the absence of regret from his conversation. He signed my retainer check with his own hand and with sound mind. And so I resolve that today, running on only four or five hours of sleep that I will attempt to restrain my complaints and approach the day with “joy” in my heart and no regrets. By the way, note to self: “No Red-Eyes after noon, Charlie.”

Charlie Wear

Charlie Wear

Charlie Wear is the publisher of Next-Wave. He and his wife Loretta and son Benjamin live in Moreno Valley, CA. He recently published his first work on Amazon Kindle, simple church planting: No One Turns Down the Blessing.

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