A long time ago, when I was just a typical, know-it-all teenager, my mother was talking about something that I was not (as usual) listening to, when I heard her say the following statement, “It’s always nice to have options, dear” followed by more of whatever else she was talking about (remember I was a teenager, and therefore only listening to about 25% of what she said!). For whatever reason, on that particular day, my teenage brain let those particular words in, and my body was alerted to their meaning.
Throughout my life, I have held onto that statement in order to open up my thoughts, my actions, and basically my entire life. I may not have always made choices that allowed for the best options; and sometimes I had to choose between the lesser of two evil options, but I never doubted that there was more than one option. No matter how trapped I may have felt from time to time, I always came back to that one idea, “It is always nice to have options.”
As I grew up and had my own daughters, I took that comment my mother made so many years before and repackaged it, telling my children to try to make decisions that create more options in their lives. This has taken many forms, from the practical such as “Get the brown shoes, they go with more” to the more hypothetical, such as “I know you are mad at her, but have you considered...” Always pushing to them to see more sides, to think more openly, to imagine more expansively, to live creatively and emotionally in wide, open spaces full of possibilities.
Recently, a friend grounded this idea more materially for me by bringing my attention to the realm of money and wealth, reminding me to encourage my girls to make smart money choices. As my friend stated so clearly, more money creates more choices and opportunities, both for freedom, and for all the fun things in life: playing, sharing and giving.
One more thing I tell my girls is to make sure, before making any big decision to always consider all their options because, as a wise woman once said, “It is always nice to have options.” So this year for Mother’s Day, I give thanks to my mom for rambling on to her teenage daughter about who knows what so long ago; and for opening up space so I could latch onto an important piece of wisdom that has helped shape my life, and that I have been able to expand upon and gift to my daughters as their own lives take form.Artwork by Meadow Rhodes