It was on one of my many walks, headphones in, music playing, which usually makes me think deeper, that something hit me. One of those thoughts that you’ve known all along but when you stop and think about it, it blows your mind and you realize how important it is.
I’m talking about something we have so much freedom around, something that affects our entire lives, every single day. Something that we have no control over but also so much control over. A blessing and a curse.
A single choice has the power to alter our entire one life on this earth. I can’t be the only person absolutely terrified by this thought. Choices are everywhere. We can choose which parking spot to take, what to order off a menu, what to put in our coffee, what roads to drive on, if we want a bag or not, if we want children, the colour on our walls and our nails, where we live, where we work, what we spend our days doing, our friends, who we share secrets with and who we keep at a distance. As this world progresses we are given even more options in our choices.
Have you ever tried ordering a coffee from the kiosks at McDonalds? First you choose the cafe menu from the regular menu, then you select what you want, coffee or tea, then you select what size you would like, then you choose what you want in your coffee and if you select milk, you choose what kind of milk. You choose how you pay for it and then you get a number and you choose where you want to stand to wait until your order is ready. That is seven choices to get a simple cup of coffee. Psychology Today posted an article that estimates we make approx 35,000 choices every single day, even more if you sleep less than 7 hours a night.
This terrifies me.
Obviously our choices are ranked and prioritized based on many factors that are ingrained into our beings from a young age. Our ability and what we base our thought process’ on are all influenced by our individual life experiences so we choose differently. Some choices don’t even seem like choices because they are second nature to us. We don’t consider getting out of bed every morning a choice, until it becomes something you must choose. We take a lot our choices for granted. We can choose to go for a walk or a run in the morning before starting our day. Or we can choose to sleep in a little later. There are people who only dream of being able to walk or run each morning and physically can’t. They don’t get this choice that we so quickly make each morning. There is gratitude to be found in the choices we make, regardless of the severity or impact of them.
There are easy choices.
We can choose if we want butter or peanut butter on our toast.
There are medium ranked choices.
We can choose if we want to be a part of a friends wedding or not, we can choose if we want to apply for a new job, or to get a new car. For these decisions we often weigh out the pro’s and con’s and make sure we can fit in such a commitment and make a fairly thought out decision but we usually don’t lose sleep over it.
Then there are hard choices.
These are the choices that often scare us and alter our lives. These are the ones that often affect more than one person. These are choices that need lots of time and knowledge to make a sound decision. These are choices that you can either “YOLO up!” or you can consider all the factors and try to imagine how your life would change based on your present knowledge. Things like having children, moving far away to a new place, getting married, taking a new job, buying a house. Things that people may never get to choose. Things that may scare you half to death to make a decision on, may be the very things people are praying to make their own decisions on. The job you could be choosing to leave may be something someone else is hoping for, the new job you’re debating on taking may also be what someone has their eye on.
If you’re reading this hoping I have advice for such a decision, I really don’t. I have made what I felt to be big decisions in my life, and the outcome has always been okay, if not great. I have hummed and hawed over many different scenarios and usually my advice is to jump in with both feet and you will be provided with signs and roads that will either assist you in your decision or let you know it wasn’t the right one.
However, I have a bit more to add here…
I wanted to write this for a couple reasons. Firstly, because I’ve considered many big choices lately. I’ve been wondering what my purpose is right now for where I am in life. If I’m meant to live in the city longer, if I’m meant to be closer to family again, if I’m meant to focus on a single career, if I’m meant to travel and volunteer overseas, if I’m meant to be a mother someday, if I’m meant to be a wife, if I could ever give up this life I’ve created that I love but that isn’t sustainable, if I’d ever be lonely down the road if I don’t choose the things society encourages me to. I started writing this to get people thinking about the severity of choice and also selfishly, to get perspective and advice from people who have been here. What I’ve realized 2 pages in though, is that no matter how hard a choice is to make, no matter how scary the unknown is, one person’s choice is more often than not, someone else’s desire. Someone in this world may be wishing they had the option of choosing either option of what you are choosing between. We have a FREEDOM to make choices and how often do we not see it as such.
We make 35,000 decisions a day but how of those choices do we take for granted each day?
All my favorite quotes and advice on choosing are below. Take them into consideration when making one of those moderate to difficult choices but also take a minute to think about what you are choosing between and find gratitude there. Be grateful in the things you are choosing between.
- Make good choices
- Choose wisely
- Be grateful for both options available to you
- Jump and be guided by whatever you have faith in
- If you’re faced with the choice and you have to choose, I hope you choose the one that means the most to you
- Be Still and Know
On the unfortunate flipside (and this is where this blog takes a little change of thought here), I realize there are choices we are forced to make that are beyond hard. They require so much thought, sometimes skill, and often they require things we cannot prepare ourselves for. Some decisions are so hard you will lose sleep, you won’t eat, you will end up hurting someone no matter what you choose. Some choices are so difficult it is unfair to ask anyone to make them. No advice, no experience, no assistance can help in these sorts of situations. These choices are ones we often think “thank God I don’t have to make that decision” when we are asked for advice on it. In this case, my gratitude lies in the fact that I don’t have to make a decision that difficult at this point of time, which is selfish and awful to say but also very true. If you are in this position, I hope this choice doesn’t consume you and you do what will make your heart the most happy both now and in the long run. I hope you ask the people closest to you for help and that you will feel pulled to one more than the other. I’m sorry you are forced to be in this position and that whatever previous choices you made, led you here.
There used to be a show on MTV called “one bad choice”. Each episode was about the split second decisions people made in the moment without thinking that cost them jail time, losing a friend, and sometimes death. I was captivated by this show. I was shocked at how quickly your entire life can change with one bad choice. I think it also helped reiterate that we are all human and I think a lot of choices we make are made far too quickly and without thought. So choose wisely.
Choices, they change us, they guide us, they put us in hard places, they dictate our lives, they come up when we least expect them to, we are free to make them and sometimes make the wrong ones.
I feel I’ve kind of drifted away from my reasoning for writing this but in the end, life is short. Choose wisely but also don’t think too hard about it, it will always work out whatever you choose. Lessons are learned in the mistakes we make and most things can be turned around. There is a silver lining in everything and if you rely on your intuition, on God, on the universe, on whatever guides you, you will get to where you need to be. Choose love and kindness first and everything else will follow.
Thank you for choosing to read my thoughts today ♡ (see what I did there?!)