Monday, September 1, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

When ‘I get to’ replaces ‘I have to’

By
From page A2 | December 04, 2012 |

“It’s not that we ‘have’ to do it; it’s that we ‘get’ to do it.”

So said a friend right after Thanksgiving. She said it’s a lesson she and her husband are trying to increasingly focus on with their family.

It’s a lesson I could use. I think as we enter the Christmas season, it’s a lesson a lot of us could use.

Here’s what she meant: To think more, and more routinely, in terms of having the opportunity to do something and how that might even change duty into delight. So, instead of “I have to do my volunteer work at school today,” think of it as “I get to do my volunteer work at school today.” This subtle change inevitably brings to mind so many things to be thankful for, including my children, the fact that they have the opportunity to get an education, that I’m healthy and can help serve lunch at the school.

I even think it might allow my family to live a little more in the moment, something I’m constantly striving – but too often unsuccessfully – to do. How frequently might we say that “I have to go grocery shopping,” ”I have to make dinner for my family” or “I have to visit that friend who has cancer”? And how does using “have” inform how we think about those things?

Now, insert “get” instead, and suddenly we are more likely to think about the privilege of full refrigerators and spending time with a dear one and how amazing it is we have our own health and can make the time to visit to begin with.

When you think about it, our lexicon is filled with such words that tell a lot about our priorities. My children, for instance, would say, “I get to go Black Friday shopping!” But they would also likely say, “I have to go to church on Sunday.” (I myself would definitely make the case that “I have to go Black Friday shopping,” but that’s for another time.)

More to the point, I would typically assert, “I have to go visit my dad,” but “I get to go out with my husband.” That says a lot about how I understand the privilege of having an aging father to love and care for.

And do we more often say “I have to go to work,” or “I get to go to work”?

It would be odd, I suppose, to call a friend and have her tell us, “I can’t. I get to go to the doctor this afternoon.” Though, when you think about it, that’s exactly what a person suffering from illness in the Third World might say. So, why should it be so odd here?

The world itself might be radically changed if more of us simply thought, “I get to pray,” versus “I have to pray.” But that could fill another column.

Here, as my friend talked, it simply occurred to me that, even on a mundane basis, speaking or at least thinking about our daily tasks and responsibilities as “I get to,” as opposed to “I have to,” might lead to a lot more gratefulness and joy in the moment.

At least, I really, really hope so. Especially because it’s that time of year again, the time when I, um, “get to” go outside and spend hours in the freezing cold putting up the Christmas lights!

Betsy Hart’s latest book is “From The Hart: A Collection of Favorite Columns on Love, Loss, Marriage (and Other Extreme Sports).” Email hartmailbox-mycolumn@yahoo.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • GemmaDecember 04, 2012 - 11:27 am

    I've tried this concept, though not long enough for it to stick. They say do something for two weeks, and it becomes a habit.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • VallejoanDecember 05, 2012 - 7:29 am

    I've tried this. It didn't really change anything. I feel the way I feel about certain tasks, and changing the wording doesn't change those feelings. "I get to scrub the toilet" is just laughable. OTOH, thinking in terms of "I need to" instead of "I have to" sometimes actually helps. I don't "have to" scrub the toilet - no one is forcing me to do it, and I could choose to leave it dirty. However, I "need to" scrub the toilet if I want a clean toilet. Which I do. "Need to" reminds me that I have a choice, but that there's a good reason why I should choose to do it. I like having choices.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksDecember 05, 2012 - 8:12 am

    OR as the saying goes: I don't “have to” do anything but die and pay taxes. I “get to” die and pay taxes just doesn’t have that same poetic feel! :)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Highway 12 project nears completion

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

‘Snail mail’ still kinda cool

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Democrats plan candidates meet, greet

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
Stand Up 2 Cancer Viewing party set in Vacaville

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Senior center schedules discussion on senior travel

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Local government schedule meetings

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
 
Car club raises funds, supplies for SPCA

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

Goodwill opens Outlet Store in Fairfield

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Premier post details of new lease

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7

 
Il Fiorello to host jazz event

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
New doctors join NorthBay

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7

Small earthquakes shake Solano

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
.

Opinion

 
Whopper of a tax dodge for Burger King

By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8, 27 Comments

 
Is social media enlarging or stifling democracy?

By Cynthia M. Allen | From Page: A8

Compromise on Cordelia Road rail crossing costs

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

 
Justice for all

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 9 Comments

Good job, Susan Winlow

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoon: Sept. 1, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 1, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Sept. 1, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Is my husband right when he says men aren’t made for monogamy?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 1, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 2, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
5 takeaways from a punch-less summer box office

By Jake Coyle | From Page: A11

Joan Rivers’ daughter: I’m keeping fingers crossed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Source: 49ers OL Boone agrees to new 2-yr deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49er Ray McDonald accused of domestic violence

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Kahne holds off Kenseth to win Atlanta shootout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Wozniacki outlasts Sharapova, in US Open quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Falcons looking to be defensive

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Down at half, US beats Turkey in basketball worlds

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Source: Chiefs’ Smith agrees to 4-yr extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tony Stewart’s return to race track ends early

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sam clears waivers, meets with Fisher

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

FC Kansas City wins NWSL title over Seattle, 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raiders claim DE Mayowa off waivers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jensen waived after Jaguars awarded TE Shuler

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Otto wins Italian Open; Gallacher comes up short

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Weather for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Henley takes a 1-shot lead at Deutsche Bank

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Dunn dealt to A’s, could be his last shot playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Fred Couples wins Champions Tour event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

A’s frustrated after 8-1 loss caps sweep by Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Ernst wins LPGA’s Portland Classic in playoff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Giants power past Brewers 15-5 for 3-game sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Laurie Danielson Bailey

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
Hazel Gertrude Wamsley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Jerry Lee Trammell

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 6 Comments

 
.

Comics

Rose is Rose Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

 
Sally Forth Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baldo Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

B.C. Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Word Sleuth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Cryptoquote Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Bridge Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7