In life we are faced with multiple paths to follow. We can pick Option A or Option B, Door 1 or Door 2, the box or the envelope. And some of the time we don’t give our choices the time of day. We just pick one and go. We believe it to be the best one for the current moment and do not think farther down the line.
Normally these decisions aren’t going to make a huge impact on our lives. Do I want a turkey and cheese sandwich or a burger and fries for lunch? Invariably, I choose the sandwich with some chips and tea. Do I want to watch TV or read a book? If you read my last column, you know the answer to that question. Do I want to go for a run or stay curled up on the couch? Nine times out of 10, I choose the couch. These decisions eventually just meld into my normal routine, part of my daily plan. I like it that way; it’s one less thing to worry about in the course of a day.
Then we have the decisions which are fun to make. Where should we go on vacation — relax on a beach or go on a ziplining adventure in Costa Rica? Time for a new vehicle — should I get a red or a black Corvette? Win the lottery — let’s go see how many books I can fit in my brand new library.
And then there are the decisions which honestly do impact the rest of our lives for better or for worse. The ones we lose sleep over. The ones which make our stomachs turn to knots and do the wave every time we think about them. The ones we know will make a huge difference one way or the other. These can vary from choosing the right life partner, to taking the jump and accepting the job offer, to worrying about a future test knowing your academic career may depend on its score. It all varies.
I think at some point in life we all look back on these decisions and wonder if we made the right one. In the past, I have been so frozen with fear, unable to move forward that I second-guess the choices I made in that state of mind. However it doesn’t do to dwell on what could have been or what might be
For a long time, I’ve had a Doris Day “Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be” sort of outlook on life, and it’s what has kept me afloat even when I have felt totally alone and adrift at sea. Maybe it all stems from my theater background knowing by Friday night we had to have everything done, or it just wasn’t going to happen ... but it’s helped me stay sane in the trying moments of life.
This type of outlook doesn’t necessarily come easily. I like to have a plan and don’t do well when things go awry. So when I’m faced with a choice that could change the course of destiny, I stutter. When I stutter, I find that extra moment extremely beneficial. In that moment, the world can shift, and I can see my path laid out in front of me. I know I won’t have all the answers and may come to regret a few decisions, but with the clarity I gain as I go forward, I know there is no way I would ever want change my past.
BCR Copy Editor Sarah Maxwell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.