Choices are a big deal in my life.
Until one learns to recognise that we almost always do have them, choices can slip by unnoticed and are wasted.
Once understood, I reckon they can introduce us to a path towards happiness or helplessness, productivity or inactivity, self realisation or mediocrity, the ordinary or the extraordinary.
For many people, the matter of having choices can be a big revelation. And choices are not simply beer and skittles, for they carry with them the reality of a big word – responsibility.
Once we’ve made our choice it’s our bag, not anyone else’s.
All actions are greeted with a reaction. Once we make our choices we need to live with them, and need to make them work.
I say to my children that they would be wise to look out for a fork in the road throughout their lives. By that I mean to suggest that they recognise when it’s time to make a decision – a decision that may very well carry huge consequences for the future.
The trick is to recognise the moment when we are being presented with choices: to understand that it’s time to pause, investigate and mull over facts and feelings, before taking the next step.
I encourage my kids to make their choices wisely; not becoming worry warts, but taking enough time to produce a confidence that the choice has been made with care and knowledge.
Every day is generally filled with seemingly insignificant forks in our life’s road: ‘Do I go shopping today or do I make a cake and take it to Mum’s for morning tea?’
‘Should I go out with that boy I met at the disco, or keep my promise to attend the movies with a school mate?’
On some days there are more important forks in the road, requiring a lot of careful thought before making a decision.
‘Will I take my best friend’s word that taking a tablet of Ecstasy is worth the risk – or not?’
‘Will I marry him or will I not?’
‘Should I take this job or that one?’
‘Will I sell my business and strike out on my own, or stay where I am for another year?’
Recognising and making a choice are the first steps of course; steps which can be taken in the twinkling of an eye if we’re not careful. It’s the living with those choices which takes the time and effort.
End of my little soliloquy.
My small thought bubbles (above) came to me this morning after I was sent an advance copy of Roger Emerson Fishman’s new book ‘What I Know – uncommon wisdom and universal truths from 10 year-olds to 100-year-olds’, out in the US of A next month.
I’ve spoken about ‘What I Know’ on 70 Plus previously, after I saw the announcement of its coming.
It turns out to be a small book with a big inside.
It’s the kind of book you keep nearby somewhere and take up occasionally for another fix. Before you know it you are being encouraged to reach out to others and their wisdom – and that’s quite a reward.
‘What I Know’ collects stories and little gems on diverse topics including perseverance, keeping your word, reinventing oneself, sharing, friendship, parenting, change and longevity. It’s attractive and easy to read.
Roger chats about choices in one of his many anecdotes throughout the book. He talks about his young son Jack 'the centre of his universe' and the life lessons he'd want him to know and practice. The fact that Jack will always have choices is one of them.
As I consult this book, and if just some of the wisdom rubs off, it's possible I’ll be able to make my personal choices more easily and wisely in future … and perhaps so will lots of others.
What do you do when you come to a fork in the road in your life?
Do you find it easy to recognise choices?