Years ago I learned about the very important distinction between ‘I have to …’ and “I get to …’
‘I have to’ implies there is no choice, that there is an obligation and that whatever it is, it’s unlikely to be fun. ‘I get to’ implies choice and opportunity.
‘Have to’ is about drudgery. ‘Get to’ has the potential for joy.
The story I suspect most of us tell ourselves is that we ‘have to’ do a lot of things. How often I hear myself reel off a list of things I ‘have to’ to do when someone asks me what I’m doing today. Yet the amazing thing is that changing one little word has the potential to change our whole perspective about our lives.
The reality is that there are very few things we actually ‘have to’ do. We don’t have to go to work, cook or have that difficult conversation. Admittedly, there may be consequences of not doing some of the things we tell ourselves are necessary, but in reality whether we do or don’t is ultimately still our choice.
A very useful outcome of my recent brush with immobility due to a back injury has been developing a whole new appreciation for all the things I ‘get to’ do:
- I get to stand up to do my hair and make-up (no more resorting to sitting, with a mirror beside me, on the floor!)
- I get to drive and wait in rush hour traffic
- I get to do the washing
- I get to do the grocery shopping
- I get to saunter to the mailbox
- I get to lie awake in bed without pain and feel grateful for that
- I get to stack and empty the dishwasher and clean up the kitchen
- I get to sit at my desk and work
- I get to put out the rubbish
- I get to walk up and down flights of stairs
- I get to prepare and cook food
- I also get to use the full extent of my no-longer-pain-killer-fuzzy brain and write this in the wee small hours
How lucky am I?
And you? What is it that you ‘get to’ do?