Life, in a way, is a series of choices. We make them everyday. I would say that most of the choices we make are small, so the repercussions are smaller and we don’t notice them as much. It’s the big life choices that we remember, the ones that we mulled over for a long time, the ones that we knew we had to make a commitment to, the ones that could possibly change the direction of our lives. Those are the ones that we think have the most impact.
While those big impact choices do have a way of changing how we live, I say the small choices we make are really the ones that make us who we are. For instance we make a decision of what we should eat every day. And whether we realize it or not, we tend to establish a pattern. The next thing you know you look in the mirror and see a burger hanging out your mouth with a surprised expression at how much weight you gained and how bad your skin looks. This shock drives you to the decision to eat healthier and join a gym or some other form of activity. But you realize that it is harder to make such a dramatic change, finding it a challenge you may stop and start again until you realize you have to implement the change the same way you start, with small choices. In this way the small choices are like a steady flow of water drops etching away an indentation on a rock. It won’t happen overnight, but with constant dripping it will forge a small indentation which may lead to a hole.
If we continue the analogy of water as a choices and it’s effect upon the rock (i.e. us), we can think of a big impact choice as a gush of water. It can sweep us away into waters unknown. It has an unsettling effect upon us as it jostles us into situations which are new and unfamiliar. We may end up in a better place or we may end up in a situation which we would rather not be in (worst case scenario is that you are smashed to bits by another rock, but that’s improbable). These sorts of choices can entail such turmoil for us, but once it settles the rewards may be great. Those are the risks we take in life. We also take a risk by not doing anything. When we are honest with ourselves we realize that all of our future days have an element of the unknown. The key to life’s risk management is accepting that unknown quality of tomorrow and making the best choices you can right now. Tomorrow you may choose to make a different choice.
When I have downtime I tend to think about these things. I tend to reevaluate the choices that I have made in my life. Some good and some bad, but I try not regret the choices that may have felt like a bad experience, rather I try to see it as a learning experience. It’s easier to do that when you have distance, there is a clarity that one can achieve. With all these life experiences as a learning tool I hope to make better choices.
Right now it feels like a rich bit of tapestry that I have been creating, a healthy balance of light and dark, with so much of the canvas it is still blank. I bet everyone has some really wonderful stories of the choices, big and small, that they’ve made. If you’re willing, I’d love to hear them.