17 January 2009

Lifestyle Choices

Cold and tired again. Well, I guess I have myself to blame for the latter. Some might say that the former is my fault, too, if my increasing sensitivity to cold is indeed a result of taking hormones. After all, they'd say, it was my choice to take them.

True enough. So is everything else I've done. So is going to therapy when you're depressed or confused, or church when you're looking for meaning or stability in your life. Or, for that matter, having children when...well, whenever it is that people decide to have children.

They are all choices, indeed. And so is working to make a living. I mean, after all, you could not do that, couldn't you? The results may not be what you'd like, but, well, that's a choice, too, isn't it.

But mine is a "lifestyle" choice, you say. Hmm...Is being a woman a "lifestyle?" I guess it is. After all, the style in which a member of one gender lives must, by definition, be different from the way members of the other gender live. One could argue that facets of those "lifestyles" are choices. But, again, what are the consequences of not making those choices?

In other words, I'm asking what people mean when they say "lifestyle choice" or use either of those words seperately. This is not a question of semantics or any of those other esoteric bodies of ideas. Rather, it's a question of what you will do to live, as opposed to merely surviving--or not being at all.

So I made a choice to live. It's really nothing more than that. That is why I find it strange that people will call me courageous, as Tom did yesterday and Anne the day before. Really, each of them made the same choice, albeit by very different means than I did. After all, their circumstances and their most basic questions are different from mine. The same for Bruce, who joked--as only a friend of nearly three decades can--that he fully expects me to start having a period.

They all understand that I made the choice I made out of what some would call necessity. In a sense, it is: In order to live the sort of life I've always wanted, I had to make that choice. And I'm sure Mom understands that as well as anybody can. Why else would she be as supportive as she's been? Oh, I know she's my Mom. But others have lost their relationships with their mothers, fathers, and everyone else they loved, and whom they thought loved them, when they chose to live by the dictates of their minds and spirits rather than those of the society in which they live.

I think she also understands that this isn't only about self-preservation. I've done that--sometimes well, sometimes not so--all of my life. Of course: How else could I be here now? But answering a "how" question is like solving the question of what you'll live on. The kinds of choices I made, that others have made, have to do with the "why" questions: the ones that have to do with what you'll live for.

So, yes, I made choices to be cold and tired at this moment. But at least I can go to bed tonight with another kind of energy--that of the spirit, la force vitale: what Michelangelo's and Rodin's works were all about--that will at least sustain me as I live with the struggles that go along with choosing to live.

And, yes, I've got that robe Mom gave me and a nice down comforter and flannel sheets. And then I could always leave the bedroom door open and let the cats curl up with me. Wait a minute: Isn't that supposed to be someone else's job? You know who you are! ;-)

Oh well. Now it's time to carry out another lifestyle choice: sleeping. I mean, I don't really have to do that now, do I?

When I ask questions like that, even in jest, that's definitely a sign I need to sleep. So that's what I'm going to choose, as soon as I finish writing this.

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