Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Choices We Make; a Book Review (sort of)

I got this book last night via amazon. It is the first and perhaps the only self-help book I have or will ever read (not to include training and horse care books). I'm just not really a self-help reader. Having said that, though, I have to admit I tore through this book, literally finishing it in just a few hours. I guess you could say I enjoyed it. I plan on going back through a few parts of it later but I wanted to write down my first impressions first. Overall I thought the book was good and helpful. Most of what the author has to say I consider to just be common sense but that doesn't mean reading it doesn't have worth. Sometimes things that should be common sense elude us for one reason or another. Having it written down to examine makes you really think about things you might normally shrug off.

One thing I appreciated about the book, in particular, is the author, Denny Emerson, doesn't gloss over anything. We are all born in circumstances that we have no control over. There are things that happen around us that we can't control but that shouldn't keep us from making good choices. A lot of times it is so easy to get in that mind set of "I can't do anything about it anyways" so we do nothing. Doing nothing is a choice in and of itself. I know I have fallen in that category more times than I can count.

I really wish I had had something like this book oh about 15 years ago. I wouldn't change anything in my life now b/c I have three wonderful children that I love very much, not to mention an amazing husband, however, I think if my 18 year old self had known the things I know now she would have made several different choices.

I have a friend who is a dentist. When asked about it he said that he always wanted to be a dentist. I don't know about you but I don't really know that many people who have just always known what they wanted to do when they grew up. In fact I can only think of two one is the dentist and one is a vet. Why is that I wonder? The first thing I remember wanting to be as a kid was a jockey. I also remember being asked, "yes, but what do you really want to do?" Because being a jockey was just not an acceptable or appropriate desire/goal (ironically at 5' tall I might have had a chance at being a jockey). I can't even remember who it was that asked me that but I also remember them saying, "well, maybe you'd like to be a vet." (Obviously if you love animals being a vet is an acceptable choice.) I remember for quite a while after that wanting to be a vet. But of course that never happened b/c really I've never wanted to be a vet. I've just never been interested in it. So I wonder if people who have always known what they wanted to be are people whose parents enthusiastically supported their dreams. I mean if your kid tells you he wants to be a dentist well that's awesome. Dentists are doctors with good hours and they make good money. Sounds good to most of us. The thing that I take away from this is I want to make sure that I support my kids in what they want to do even if at the time it seems crazy. When my husband first went to college he wanted to be a youth pastor. His parents made sure that he double majored in math as a "back-up" visions of him living in poverty, I think. I can't say that they were wrong in making him do that (in fact I think most people would say that it was the smart thing to do) but my husband never did become a youth pastor. I wonder what would have happened if his parents had had more faith in him? (Oh and this is not to make them feel guilty! just something I think about when I think about how I want to raise my own kids.)

Denny also writes about the really tough choices. An especially hard choice for us women is whether or not to have children. I know that there are a lot of people who feel very strongly about this one way or another but honestly I don't think there is a right or wrong choice here I just think there is the right choice for you. Obviously I've already made this choice and I refuse to regret it but that doesn't mean it is always easy or I don't have times when I wish things could be a little different. Likewise I am sure that there are women out there who put off having children until it was too late that don't regret it but may have those wistful times when they wish things could have been different too. Choices like this almost always come with compromises and sacrifices. You just have to accept that and make the choice. Don't let the choice be made for you by doing nothing.

This book comes at an interesting time in my life. Right now I have the choice to go home this summer and stay there for the year while my husband stays here to finish up his tour. Even saying it out loud, admitting that I'm thinking about it makes me feel incredibly guilty! (Like I want to go hide under a rock in shame, guilty) How could I possibly think about keeping my husband and kids apart for a year just so that I can go home and ride! Now, if I were going home to go to Nursing school or do something productive it would be understandable. I mean even to myself it would be more acceptable but I simply just want to go home and take advantage of being near my trainer with three kids finally all in school so that I can ride every day for several hours a day. Simply put, I want to be a better rider! maybe even a good rider! But what is the end result of that? a job? money? something worthwhile? Not very likely. And here is one of those choices that could put me on two very different paths or maybe it will end up not mattering at all. If only I had that crystal ball!

If you haven't already you should definitely consider reading How Good Riders Get Good. It is definitely a worthwhile read. I may have more to say about it later!

1 comment:

  1. I got that book for christmas and I enjoyed it a lot. It made me feel like I was making the right choices for me. :)