When I woke up this morning, I had a whole new idea about the August theme for this blog. The word that was shouting in my head was Alternatives. “That’s interesting,” I thought. It was not at all what I’d been planning to write about.

I probably shouldn’t have been surprised. For the past several weeks I’ve been weighing the alternatives of staying in Las Vegas or moving to California. So the process of decision making that comes into play when considering alternatives has been vividly playing in my life.

In case I wasn’t convinced that this was a timely topic, I picked up my latest issue of Afar magazine and noticed the Subaru Outback ad on the back cover. It said, “Buy map. Throw dart.”

That’s one way of selecting from alternatives, I guess, but not exactly what I have in mind for this month’s exploration.

Let’s begin with the dictionary definition: “offering or expressing a choice.” Technically, alternatives refer to a choice between two, and only two, options. However, the more popular notion is that alternatives include a number of choices, the selection of which eliminates the others.

Of course, alternative also is used to mean “different from the usual or conventional.” So we have alternative music, newspapers, lifestyles, education, medicine and so forth.

Since I never know exactly where a theme is going to lead me, I’m going to keep looking at both definitions of the word and what it has to do with the Joyfully Jobless Journey.

The one thing I know for sure is that it’s ridiculously easy to overlook the abundance of alternatives in every situation in which we find ourselves. Too often we limit our choices to far fewer alternatives than actually exist.

As I was considering that, I remembered something Swedish actress Liv Ullmann said in her autobigraphy, Changes.

“I had a life with options but frequently lived as if I had none,” Ullmann writes. “The sad result of my not having exercised my choices is that my memory of myself is not of the woman I believe I am.”

Ullmann’s recollection might have been different had she encountered this bit of advice from British general W. J. Slim:  “When you cannot make up your mind which of two evenly balanced courses of action you should take, choose the bolder.”

Let’s make that our starting point in this August excursion.

7 Responses to “Alternatives for August”

  1. Gillian

    That quote from Liv Ullmann was so poignant, certainly enough to make one stop and think.

    California has a lot to recommend it, I lived there for 7 years and loved it, coincidently exploring nearly every corner in a Subaru Outback! It would definitely provide you with plenty of both of your definitions of ‘alternative’. And thanks for the link to Afar, that looks really great.

  2. Barbara Winter

    I lived there for 7 years, too, Gillian. The biggest drawback, from my point of view, is that living there makes travel more difficult than it already is. Just getting in and out of LAX is another whole trip.

  3. Jane Cornwell

    Speaking of alternatives – what about Northern California, specifically the Bay Area, with two airports?! We’d LOVE to have you!!!

  4. Barbara Winter

    Thanks for the invitation, Jane. Honestly, my only reason for choosing CA as my alternative is that my entire family (almost) is in southern CA.

  5. Susanne R.

    Serendipity. Several months back I read your book and purchased one of your programs and was astounded to learn you lived in Las Vegas. Now I am surprised to hear you are contemplating moving to CA. I, too, am going back and forth between staying in Vegas (13 years now!) and returning to northern CA (I’m a native). Hmmm. The Liv Ullmann and W. J. Slim quotes are quite apropos.

    Let’s hear it for new adventures!!

  6. Barbara Winter

    I am aware of so many people who are currently relocating…and having the same preliminary arguments with themselves since there are pros on both sides. I’m beginning to think I may be a genuine bohemian who needs to move from spot to spot with ease.

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